Opposition political parties have criticised the Government over what they say is its high-handed approach to local government.
The parties made up a panel at the Local Government New Zealand Conference in Hamilton on Tuesday.
Su'a William Sio from Labour said the Government views councils as a drag on the economy and a political nuisance, while Green Party member Eugenie Sage believes the Government is eroding local democracy.
New Zealand First spokesperson Denis O'Rourke wants it to reduce its big-brother approach and be more collaborative.
Indpenedent MP Peter Dunne said debate over local government canvasses the same arguments made every few years and unless the roles of local and central government are defined, the debate will just go on and on.
Local Government Minister Chris Tremain told the conference he wasn't keen on a them-and-us approach to both forms of government.