Stronger communities? Changing prospects for community-led strategic planning in New Zealand

Main Article Content

Bruno Brosnan
Christine Cheyne


New Zealand’s Local Government Act 2002 ushered in a new phase in local government, a phase that is best characterised by the term ‘empowerment’. Not only were councils empowered to promote social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being, in contrast with previous more prescriptive legislation, but citizens were empowered to engage in community-led strategic planning. In many respects the new statute reflected contemporary international public management trends in which governance is increasingly being conducted via networks of public and private actors. However, with the change of government from a centre-left Labour-led coalition to a centre-right National-led government following the November 2008 general election, it is less certain that local government and communities will continue to experience a strengthening of the pluralisation of governance that has been a feature of the past decade. This article argues that the potential disempowerment of local government, and possible attenuation of community-led strategic planning in New Zealand, comes at a time when the momentum for devolution to local government and other communities is increasing elsewhere.

Article Details

How to Cite
Brosnan, B., & Cheyne, C. (1). Stronger communities? Changing prospects for community-led strategic planning in New Zealand. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (7), 22-44.
Research and Evaluation (peer-reviewed)
Author Biographies

Bruno Brosnan, Marlborough District Council

Bruno Brosnan is a planner with Marlborough District Council who completed a Master of Resource & Environmental Planning at Massey University in 2009.

Christine Cheyne, Massey University

Dr Cheyne is Associate Professor in the Resource and Environmental Planning Programme. Current research interests include: Transportation policy and planning; Urban sustainability; Public participation in local authority annual, strategic and resource & environmental planning processes; Social, economic, environmental and cultural aspects of well-being ; Governance and representation; and local government funding; Connecting democracy and welfare state institutions.