Peter takes a close interest in how local government relates to its communities, both in New Zealand and internationally.
This stems from his long-time interest in community governance, the various processes through which communities make and implement choices for their futures. It has seen him actively involved with a range of local and international projects designed to explore the community governance potential of non-traditional structures, ranging from community banking to social enterprise and the role of philanthropic trusts.
In 2010-2012 Peter was the New Zealand participant in the Johns Hopkins University-led project on philanthropication through privatisation.
In November 2014 he was an invited presenter at a workshop in Stockholm hosted by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, where he spoke on the theme "Local Democracy Today and Tomorrow: The Emerging Role of ‘Non-Traditional’ Entities of Local Governance".
Local Government Forum
Peter has been a major participant in the work of the Research Advisory Group of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, conceiving and then co-editing the 2013 Commonwealth Secretariat publication New Century Local Government: Commonwealth Perspectives.
He has written extensively on the role of arm's-length entities in government, including State Owned Enterprises, Crown Entities and local authority controlled arm's-length entities. His publications in this area include the 2016 report The Governance, Management and Accountability of Arm's-length Entities, undertaken for a range of New Zealand and Australian clients.
The Local Government Think Tank
His current activities include working as director of The Local Government Think Tank, a local government-backed initiative to establish a New Zealand equivalent of the UK's leading local government sector think tanks.