Published: 13 June 2018
The new Ngaruawahia-to-Horotiu cycleway and Perry Bridge are among four Waikato council projects named as finalists in the Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards 2018.
Waikato District Council is a finalist in the EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Governance, Leadership and Strategy for its North Waikato Integrated Growth Management project, and in the EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development category for the Te Awa River Ride – Ngaruawahia to Horotiu.
Waipa District Council is a finalist in the Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement for its project Out of the Shadows – Bringing Waipa’s Heritage to Life, and the Waikato Mayoral Forum in the EXCELLENCE Award for Service Delivery and Asset Management for the RATA (Road Asset Technical Accord) programme.
Now in their fifth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.
The North Waikato Integrated Growth Management Business Case saw Waikato District Council, Auckland Council, Hamilton City Council, NZTA the Waikato Regional Council, Auckland Transport, the Ministry of Education and two district health boards co-operating to develop a business case for managing and proactively planning for expected growth in the district over the next 30 years.
Judges welcomed the initiative as a holistic approach and a “Means of future-proofing and preparing for clear challenges of future population growth.”
The collaborative project which delivered the Ngaruawahia-to-Horotiu cycleway and iconic new Perry Bridge Structure, has already resulted in visitor numbers using the new facilities increasing from 40 per day to over 700 visitors.
Judges said “This is an ambitious tourism infrastructure investment which provides the opportunity for positive long-term socio-economic growth and health wellbeing in the District.”
Waipa District Council’s Out of the Shadows project inspired conversation about Waipa’s rich history, in preparation for a proposed significant increase in heritage investment, including plans for a Waipa Discovery Centre in Te Awamutu.
Judges praised it as “A novel approach that used an effective and well-designed campaign to address a complex issue of conflicting narratives about historical events. The project demonstrated broad community engagement that linked its history and fed through into its future planning.”
The RATA project, initiated by the Waikato Mayoral Forum, is a collaboration between nine Councils in the Waikato region to improve strategic road asset management planning.
Judges praised it as an “Excellent example of nine Councils collaborating on roading, joining together to improve strategic road asset management planning with sharing of experience and knowledge that led to increased efficiency and effective regional service delivery.”
LGNZ President Dave Cull says that being named as a finalist is a significant achievement and reflects strong leadership and the innovative work being delivered by councils across the country.
“The finalists include some exceptional projects that are having a profound impact on communities. The EXCELLENCE Awards finalists all demonstrate innovation, excellence in communication and consultation to involve communities in the decisions and planning which frame their future.”
The finalists incorporate best practice criteria under LGNZ’s CouncilMARK™ excellence programme which is designed to improve the public’s knowledge of the work councils are doing in their communities and to support individual councils to further improve the service and value they provide.
“Overall the judges felt that the strongest entries demonstrated a strong strategic focus, clear outcomes, measured results, cost benefit analysis and engagement with external organisations – particularly a collaborative approach with stakeholders, and meaningful engagement with iwi and Māori.“
This year saw the highest number of entries in the Awards’ history. Winners will be announced at the LGNZ conference dinner in Christchurch on 16 July.