" The paths to the future are not found but created"

Peter McKinlay

Peter_Photo_home.JPGPeter McKinlay is the firm's Executive Director.
His specialist interests are public policy and local governance, the design of governance structures and organisational strategy. In addition to his consulting work, he is a regular author, presenter and commentator on the future role and function of local government.

Peter is also a Research Associate at the NZ Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.


Peter has been an alternate member of the board of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and plays a leading role in the Forum's Research Advisory Group. He is a member of the advisory board of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance.

He has worked with a number of peak local organisations and individual councils across Australia and is currently active in providing advice on options for local and community governance as how to engage more effectively with communities becomes increasingly significant for all tiers of government. In 2013 he prepared for the NSW Independent Local Government Review Panel the report ‘Community-Level Governance: what provision should be made and social mandated in local government legislation?’ which had an important influence on the Panel’s work on this issue.


Peter has more than 25 years' experience as a combination of consultant, adviser and strategic policy analyst on a wide range of public sector issues, in both central and local government.
In 1985 he left the staff of the Treasury to pursue his interest in the relationship between different types of governmental organisational structures and their ability to deliver intended outcomes.
He also has a deep interest in the implications of an ageing population, and leads work on innovative approaches to the role of local government in supporting ageing in place.

Seminal work

Peter has done significant work on the structure and governance of Crown Entities including Crown Research Institutes, on tertiary institutions and on the allocation of functions between government departments. A report he wrote for the State Services Commission was, for a number of years, effectively the handbook for considering the role and function of Crown entities.

In the field of local government and local governance he has undertaken a number of major strategic assignments which have included options for the funding of local government and extensive work on the use of trusts, LATEs, CCOs and other arms length structures. One of his current interests is in the role of local government in better enabling the effective targeting, delivery and monitoring of central government's services, where local government's unique local networks and knowledge provide the key to central government being able to "do more with less".

His report for Local Government New Zealand and a group of co-funders on Local Government Structure and Efficiency has made a major contribution, both in New Zealand and Australia, to discussions about the future structure of local government, something that continues to be one of his principal work interests.

He is currently working with a leading university-based research institute on a project to establish a national conversation on the role, function and place of local government in the governance of New Zealand’s communities.

Outside work …
Peter’s interests include cooking, sampling wine, building a small collection of New Zealand art and enjoying his five young grandchildren. . He chairs his local Residents’ Association, is on the board of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the committee of the Tauranga Club.

He can be contacted at peter@mdl.co.nz

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