The Key Ideas

#17 Produce a 'tree of reserved powers' for each level of government

Each level of government should establish a set of 'reserved' powers. For example, it is absolutely essential that even where delivery of health or education has local flexibility it must remain the duty of national government to ensure (and in the event of problems, enforce) consistent national quality standards. Law, justice and the policing of major crimes will remain at national level, as will national transport infrastructure, taxation and budgeting, national economic development and so on. The regional councils would need to retain responsibility for social work, waste collection, regional planning decisions, and much of local transport, as well as the powerful new roles proposed in this book such as running development banks and energy companies. After this it would be the right of each layer of government to 'draw down' powers as they develop and feel comfortable taking more responsibility. This process of allowing powers to move closest to where they are going to impact is known as subsidiarity.