The mayor of the Bay of Plenty town of Whakatāne says it's facing a funding "crisis" as it grapples with social issues and competition for Government support.
The Provincial Growth Fund is meant to help the regions, but getting the money can be a struggle.
"It's not an easy task, the money that we've just got from the Provincial Growth Fund of $646,000 is to help us get a business plan together.
"We haven't got the money until we've got that business case accepted by Government," Whakatāne Mayor Tony Bonne told 1 NEWS.
Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says it's a bureaucratic process, but there's room for improvement.
"I've always said there's too much red tape and I've got in trouble for it, but the reality is there's myself, Mr Robertson, Mr Twyford and Mr Parker so I can't decide these things by myself," Mr Jones says.
Experts at a recent regional growth summit say provinces shouldn't rely on the Government for funding.
"Sure, it'd be nice, but where Government needs to focus on is infrastructure those types of growth investments," Nathan York of Bluehaven Management says.
That advice will be cold comfort to Mayor Bonne who says, "Local government is coming to a crisis point."