By David Waite, University of Glasgow

The Auckland Mayor’s recent manifesto (“Manifesto for Auckland”), which seeks new arrangements with central government, hinges on a call for greater autonomy. The possibility of a City Deal was noted in the manifesto, and this follows on from a recent review of local government (“Future for Local Government”) which similarly proposed place-based agreements.

In this discussion note, we look at the opportunities and challenges presented by City Deals. We reflect on their evolution in the UK context as well as their more recent emergence in Australia.

We point to the following key issues that may confront policymakers in NZ if a deal-based approach is pursued:

  • do deals fit within a national urban strategy and what is the spatial policy problem they seek to address;
  • how should deal-making be sequenced;
  • how should/will central government guide the deal-making process;
  • is deal-making for infrastructure, primarily, or for a wider set of economic development concerns (e.g. innovation, skills and entrepreneurialism);
  • are there sufficient local and national capacities to undertake deal-making;
  • how/in what ways should stakeholder consultation feature through deal development;
  • what role is there for monitoring and evaluation?

Political decisions will no doubt shape whether or not deals emerge, however, the discussion note intends to add to the nascent dialogue in NZ on the promises and pitfalls of City Deals.

Read the full discussion document here

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