19 Jul 2022
Creative New Zealand welcomed the opportunity to make a submission to the review into the Future for Local Government. A summary of our submission to the review is below.
Over the next 30 years, councils around Aotearoa will face new challenges and may need to change their role and functions. The Future for Local Government Review aims to find new approaches to local governance that help communities to thrive.
This review is an opportunity to think about how local democracy and governance might develop, in order to maximise wellbeing and prosperity for communities. It looks at the role of local governance in working towards intergenerational wellbeing.
We’re advocating to make sure arts, culture and creativity are a key part of this mahi, because we know that they play a vital role in strengthening our wellbeing (hauora). We have the evidence and the stories.
Our New Zealanders and the Arts—Kō Aotearoa me ōna Toi 2020 research shows that three out of five New Zealanders (61%) agree that the arts make an important contribution to community resilience and wellbeing. We understand that when we support the cultural wellbeing of communities, we also support their social, economic and environmental wellbeing.
For our submission, we brought together local government arts and culture leaders to hear their insights and whakaaro (thoughts) – from elected representatives, mayors, arts and culture leads, and Māori strategy leads.
Collectively, we imagined a future where arts, culture and creativity are positioned as essential tools to deliver across all wellbeing outcomes, fueled by a shared understanding of cultural wellbeing – what it is, how it supports communities, how to achieve it, and how to measure it.
It was clear that an all-of-government approach – one which has cultural wellbeing at its heart – is an effective way to advance this, as part of a complete system re-think. Our submission presents five key actions; Advocate, Elevate, Plan, Research and Partner. They present significant opportunities to reimagine how we enable thriving communities, through the delivery of arts, culture and creativity for the benefit of all New Zealanders.
They focus on embedding arts leadership, elevating Te Tiriti o Waitangi, developing a national strategy for arts, culture and creativity, creating a national data strategy to demonstrate the value of this mahi, and investing in regional and national collaboration and partnership.
From Creative New Zealand’s submission to the review into the Future for Local Government
The five actions within our submission echo what we hear across the wider arts and culture sector and align with Creative New Zealand’s own ambitions for a stronger focus on cultural wellbeing – understanding that when we support the cultural wellbeing of communities, we are also supporting their social, economic and environmental wellbeing. The connection is strong.
This work follows a meeting of our Arts Council Chair, Caren Rangi, and Chief Executive, Stephen Wainwright, with the Future for Local Government review panel in 2021. They discussed ambitious opportunities around how local government could evolve to improve the wellbeing of all New Zealand communities – about a future that embodied Te Tiriti partnership and the vital contribution arts, culture and creativity can make to the delivery of this work.
“Arts, culture and creativity have an essential role to play in the wellbeing of our communities. They reflect the diversity of who we are, strengthen our identity, tell our stories, connect people to place, and bring communities together. We’re advocating for the review to center this as vital social infrastructure to strengthen wellbeing” says Stephen Wainwright, Chief Executive, Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.
We know that through partnership and collaborative investment, we can work together to deliver enhanced wellbeing outcomes for our communities, and we look forward to working with the local government review panel to support our shared ambitions.
We acknowledge and thank all who fed into this mahi, including MartinJenkins who we co-designed and co-facilitated the extensive engagement process with.