There are 78 councils across the country working every day to make sure the communities they represent run smoothly and efficiently.

Local government is not all about bureaucracy and politics - there are thousands of people across New Zealand working within local government to ensure that their communities are the best they can possibly be. From your local librarians, building inspectors and swimming pool lifeguards to the Chief Executive, everyone working in the councils are focused on making sure their area is a great place to live, play and visit.

Councils provide a huge range of services to the communities they serve - from the basics of maintaining efficient infrastructure for our roads and water pipes; planning for the future and providing facilities to promote and improve community well being.

How local government affects you

Local government operations affect you every day; and you may not even be aware of it.

There are many aspects of your daily life that wouldn't be able to function without the work of local government staff. From the moment you wake up and brush your teeth, have a shower and flush the toilet. Taking the bus to work or school, paying for your parking and having your rubbish collected from the side of the street each week.

None of those things could happen without your council - and the staff working within them.

Local government:

Promotes community well-being

Councils are closely involved in promoting community well-being through arts, community and recreation services. Your council maintains public libraries, parks, public swimming pools, sports grounds and museums. Your council also looks after youth development, community relationships, business development, and holds events that encourage community participation.

Makes sure everything works

Water comes in, and it goes out. The roads are maintained, bus services organised, and the rubbish removed. All those things you don't notice until they don't happen! Planning, developing and maintaining local infrastructure is a major aspect of council work.

Plans for the future

Councils are responsible for facilitating ongoing growth of your district or city especially in areas such as transport, resource management, bylaw making, urban design, community and social, financial planning, and economic development. Councils liaise with key community groups, conduct effective consultations and monitors and implement these policies and plans effectively.

Looks after the environment

Weeds, chemical spills, rescuing native species, cleaning up the air or plotting where everything actually is. Everything has an environmental impact and your council is often the referee. Regional councils, in particular, must manage the demands of industry (for instance farming), and of those who want to keep our environment untouched.

Serves the community

Your council ensures that consistent standards are in place to keep people safe and secure. They keep you safe from dodgy food, ensure that you don't get constant gridlock in the cities, or that ships berth at wharves and not on reefs. Councils apply a vast number of rules and regulations that central government has decreed, and many arise from the expressed wishes of their community.

Manages resources

Able and strong management ensures that strategies and structures are in place for your council to achieve the vision for your community. They have people who look after operational performance, implement solutions to make the organisation achieve its outcomes and provide structures and systems in place to better serve the community.