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News & Media » Frontpage News - August 2017

Frontpage News - August 2017

Published: 3 August 2017

News type: National news   

Dear Member,

In this Frontpage News we recap last week’s excellent LGNZ conference, including the new LGNZ leadership, our policies launched and the EXCELLENCE Award winners.

The conference was a great success, attended by over 650 delegates from local government and its stakeholders, industry and the community.  The theme of this year’s conference was Creating pathways to 2050: Liveable spaces and loveable places, and there were many thought provoking keynote addresses.  We share many of the speeches and presentations delivered by our excellent guest speakers and visiting politicians, which you can find below. 

In this edition

  • New LGNZ president and Vice President
  • Key policy documents launched
  • Remits become LGNZ policy
  • Councils win EXCELLENCE Awards
  • Conference presentations and images
  • Local government in the media    

Workstreams

Climate change

Following the launch the Local Government Position Statement on Climate Change at last week’s LGNZ 2017 Conference, LGNZ will continue to advocate for greater national leadership on climate change, clarity on responsibilities for adaptation, and to work with central government on a joint response.

Election manifesto

In the weeks leading up to the 2017 general election LGNZ will continue to promote the policy priorities outlined in the local government manifesto.  These include greater infrastructure funding tools, an emphasis on risk and resilience and the creation of a coherent and integrated framework for the management and allocation of New Zealand’s water resources.

New LGNZ President and Vice President

Local government has elected a new Local Government New Zealand President, Dave Cull, to replace Lawrence Yule who has stepped down after nine years in the role.      

Dave Cull is the Mayor of Dunedin and has most recently served as LGNZ’s Vice-President and is the current Chair of its Metro Sector.  The role of Vice President has been filled by Stuart Crosby.  Mr Crosby is a councillor on the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and National Council member. 

We will be hearing more from Dave and Stuart in the months to come.

LGNZ election manifesto offers policy solutions for key issues 

Changes to the way we fund infrastructure, improvements to our risk and resilience and new ways of protecting New Zealand’s water are outlined in the Local Government New Zealand election manifesto, launched at the recent LGNZ conference. 

In launching the manifesto, LGNZ’s plan for a prosperous and vibrant New Zealand, former LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said for councils to achieve the maximum for their communities there are some areas an incoming government will need to address, often in collaboration with local government. 

There are five key areas in the manifesto, which reflect LGNZ’s strategic priorities: 

  • infrastructure;
  • risk and resilience;
  • the environment, including addressing the impacts of and adapting to climate change;
  • social issues including housing and community safety; and
  • economic development. 

“Across these spheres there is a range of policy improvements we think could lift the outcomes for our communities,” Mr Yule said. 

Infrastructure 

Running throughout the manifesto is a key theme of infrastructure, and especially how it is funded. 

“In our view New Zealand’s infrastructure is at a crossroads and needs to be a key focus in the upcoming election,” Mr Yule said.  “We are at a point now where we need to take some significant decisions about how we ensure we continue to enjoy the benefits of our vital infrastructure.”  This will require, among other things, councils having access to a broad range of funding options to meet current and future needs in areas like water provision, transport and housing.  

Risk and resilience 

“Recent events like the Kaikoura earthquake and the Edgecumbe flooding have further put the spotlight on the need to improve our readiness for hazardous events to reduce community and economic risks,” Mr Yule said.  “LGNZ is calling on an incoming government to commit to a collaborative approach and urgent action to manage the risks posed to New Zealand communities from extreme weather and seismic events.” 

Environment 

“The quality of our water is and will continue to be a defining issue for the foreseeable future.  Current water policy is disjointed so we are advocating the creation of a coherent and integrated framework for the management and allocation of New Zealand’s water resources.  Alongside water quality, local government has identified responding to and managing the impacts climate change as a key strategic priority.” 

Social 

“For New Zealand to prosper it needs healthy communities and healthy communities need good homes.  There are major social and economic impacts stemming from poor housing, including people’s ability to participate in school, work and in the community generally.  We are calling on an incoming government to implement a stronger policy and regulatory framework for improving the standard of rental housing.” 

Economic issues 

“Although the New Zealand economy continues to expand, some parts of the country are benefitting less than others from that growth.  We think a system that incentivises council investment in growth could help turn the tide, especially in regional New Zealand,” Mr Yule said.  Allowing councils to capture ‘value uplift’ in their areas, allowing for the creation of special economic zones to attract investment in specific locations, and a collaborative and innovative approach with councils when developing economic policy and strategy at national and local levels.

Local government urges national action on climate change 

Climate change poses one of the biggest threats to New Zealand’s way of life in the years to come and will require coherent, consistent and joint action across central and local government. 

Also released at the conference was LGNZ’s new Local Government Position Statement on Climate Change, and a 2017 climate change declaration signed by 39 mayors from around the country. 

In launching the position statement former LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said local government’s vision for New Zealand in 2050 is a vibrant country enjoying environmental, social, cultural and economic prosperity. 

How New Zealand responds to climate change now and in years to come will determine in large part how these goals can be met. 

“Adapting to and mitigating where possible the effects of climate change is a massive, massive challenge for all of us – local authorities, central government, communities and businesses,” Mr Yule said. 

“In the coming years many of our communities will turn to their councils for support.  Local government is committed to playing its role by utilising the full range of skills and capabilities it holds to better understand all the consequences and opportunities of climate change, and to consider climate change in its decision making. 

“But this is a problem of national scale, in need of a joint, national response.  In our view we need to see more from central government on climate change.” 

Through the position statement LGNZ seeks a clear statement from central government on responsibilities for government at all levels, private sector and individual for adaptation actions, including fiscal responsibility.

“This is critical,” Mr Yule said.  “Climate change is far bigger than what we are equipped to deal with now, and it will take a concerted effort from all parties to build the necessary resilience.

“It’s not too late to do this, but as the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright commented recently, on climate change we need to do more, and we need to do it faster.”

The Declaration, signed by 39 mayors, reiterates the sector’s view on climate change and provided the opportunity for newly elected mayors and chairs to add their names to the declaration.

Remits become LGNZ policy

At the AGM following the conference the local government sector also voted on five remits to become LGNZ policy 

Remits were voted on in a secret ballot. Remits passed become official policy and be actioned by Local Government New Zealand. 

There was a focus on litter legislation, local government funding, cat management, reducing the health impacts of sugary drinks and drivers licensing in this year’s remits.  

Giving councils greater powers to combat littering 

Palmerston North City Council supported by Metro councils asks that LGNZ advocates to central government to amend the Litter Act 1979 to enable local authorities to legally issue infringement notices where there is evidence of an offence. 

Councils putting forward the remits say the indiscriminate disposal of rubbish is an ongoing and increasing problem for local authorities.  The councils say the Litter Act fails to provide councils with the appropriate regulatory tools to fulfil its objectives and enforce legislation by limiting the issue of an infringement notice to situations where a council officer observes a person littering, or has reasonable cause to believe they have just committed an infringement offence.  A simple word change to remove the word “just” from the legislation would address these limitations and provide greater authority to issue infringements. 

The remit was passed overwhelmingly with 95 per cent support of the sector. 

Returning a portion of GST to the district it was generated in 

Proposed by Gisborne District Council with the support of a number of rural, district and city councils, this remit asks that LGNZ request the Government use the appropriate mechanisms to enable a proportion of the 15 per cent Goods and Services Tax be returned to the territorial authorities and unitary councils where it was generated so that Councils can use this money to pay for the servicing of visitor infrastructure. 

The Council says local government’s’ reliance on property rates has seriously constrained investment in key local infrastructure, particularly where benefits are diffuse and the cost cannot be allocated to a specific group.  The proposal would be one step towards adopting a strategic and coordinated approach to investment in regional tourism growth. 

The remit was supported strongly by 68 per cent of the sector. 

National legislation to manage cats 

The third remit was proposed by Dunedin City Council and asks that LGNZ lobby the Government on the importance of implementing the final version of the National Cat Management strategy which recognises both the importance of companion cats and indigenous wildlife to many New Zealanders. 

Throughout New Zealand councils are tasked with trying to promote responsible cat ownership and reduce their environmental impact on wildlife, including native birds and geckos.  Yet, territorial authority’s powers for cats are for minimising the impact on people’s health and wellbeing, and regional councils’ powers are restricted to destruction of feral cats as pests.  The remit seeks the protection of our wildlife and native species by seeking regulatory powers for cat control, including cat identification, cat de-sexing and responsible cat ownership. 

The remit was passed with 51 per cent voting in favour.  

Development of a Sugar Sweetened Beverages Policy 

This remit asks that all councils should consider the development of a Sugar Sweetened Beverages Policy for their respective workplaces and facilities. 

Proposed by Hastings District Council the remit is designed to encourage councils to model good behaviour in their communities and provide an example to other organisations.  It is also designed to reduce sugar consumption of users of council facilities. 

The remit was passed with 61 per cent voting in favour. 

Drivers licence programme 

A new remit was proposed from the floor by Rotorua Lakes Council and seconded by Central Hawke’s Bay District Council. 

It asked that the membership of LGNZ advocate to the Government in support of the implementation of a free and all-inclusive universal drivers licence programme for all students at NCEA level two.  

The councils spoke to the significant challenges of youth obtaining employment without holding a drivers licence, particularly in smaller towns and rural areas and areas of high deprivation, and the need for a programme to assist youth in gaining a licence. 

The remit was passed with strong support of 79 per cent of votes. 

LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award winners announced

We are delighted to announce the winners in this year’s LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards.

In its fourth year, the awards attracted 56 projects and programmes entered across five categories.  From those entries judges selected 17 finalists with the winners announced at the LGNZ Conference and EXCELLENCE Awards last week.

Local government plays an essential role in driving residential, community and economic activity throughout New Zealand and the winners and finalists in the EXCELLENCE Awards showcased outstanding leadership being provided by councils throughout the country.

Being named as a winner is an excellent achievement and reflects the vision shown by councils and the innovative work being done by staff.  The finalists include some exceptional projects that are having a profound impact on communities and the awards recognise the best examples of this.

The winners in the five award categories are:

Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement

Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Best Creative Place

Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact

Chorus EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Infrastructure

Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development

MartinJenkins Judges’ Choice Award for Outstanding Value and Service Delivery

Department of Internal Affairs EXCELLENCE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Local Government

Local wins

Help for fast growing school

There has been a perfect match between a programme helping young people into work and a school keen for help as its roll skyrockets.

Mangateretere School’s roll has tripled from 13 to 38 this year, leaving it needing support for its teaching principal and one other teacher. Meanwhile Michaela Dunn was looking for work after returning home to Hawke’s Bay from Palmerston North.

The Rangatahi mā, Kia eke project, a partnership between Hastings District Council and the Ministry of Social Development, aims to help 25 young people aged 16 to 24 who are having difficulty finding work. In the three months the programme has been running, two young people have started paid employment and three are in the process of being approved.

Ms Dunn had quickly become indispensable as Principal Mona Stewart’s personal assistant. The position has a broad scope of work, from producing the school’s newsletter and uploading data to the website, to taking phone calls and helping pupils who need extra assistance with maths or reading, said Mangateretere School Board member Des Ratima.

“We are loving having her”, said Mrs Stewart. “Michaela has been an enormous help to us; taking the pressure off by completing all the necessary non-teaching jobs that would take us out of the classroom if she was not here. And she is just wonderful with the children. I don’t believe would have coped with our increasing roll without her.”

And Ms Dunn was happy as well. Her favourite part of the job was helping the children.

The position could well become even more vital, said Mr Ratima.

The school was applying to the Ministry of Education to extend the bi-lingual Year 1 to 6 school out to Year 13. “It’s an aspirational goal but we have had early discussions and they are positive. It is about not having so many breaks in education; every time they leave a school to start a new one, there is the potential for our children to lose focus and their way educationally.”

Exciting things were already happening, with 13 senior students receiving laptop computers on Monday, courtesy of Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Takitimu Ora.

Mrs Stewart said the timing of the donation was perfect, with the school also reaching an agreement with PHD student Hanareia Ehau-Taumaunu who is heading to Pennsylvania this month as the Taumaunu Fullbright Science and Innovation Graduate Award Recipient 2017. She will be sharing her scientific findings with Mangateretere School’s students. “This is very exciting for our school; it could not have come at a better time.”

Palmerston North and Guiyang celebrate 25 years of Sister City relationship

The 25 year anniversary of the Sister City relationship between Guiyang, China and Palmerston North has been celebrated at a special event in Guiyang.

During the event, Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith and Guiyang Mayor Liu Wenxin signed a Letter of Intent to cooperate on education, vocational training, consultancy and research.

In recognition of the signing of the Letter of Intent and the 25th anniversary, UCOL and Palmerston North City Council announced the establishment of 25 $10,000 scholarships for students from Guiyang.

“Guiyang is a thriving and top performing city, and is positioning itself as a world leader in environmental sustainability and big data,” says Mayor Smith.

“We’re committed to growing education links between our cities and also had a fruitful discussion about a possible economic cooperation agreement to advance business and commercial cooperation.”

Guiyang Mayor Liu Wenxin says 25 years is a brief moment in the long history of human history. “But in this time our two cities have established a deep friendship, and formed good mechanisms for collaboration and fruitful cooperation.”

Guiyang is the Capital of Guizhou province. With a population of almost five million people it offers a number of opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. The city has indicated it wants to establish sister schools and send over Chinese language teachers to Palmerston North.

“Other members of the delegation are advancing a number of exciting opportunities while we’re here and are discussing draft economic and tourism agreements,” says Mayor Smith. “These span the beef trade, specialist helicopter pilot training and related services, and Massey University’s existing relationship with Guizhou University.”

The Mayor was in China with a special delegation to explore business opportunities and undertake a number of education, agribusiness and tech visits. The delegation includes representatives from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Central Economic Development Agency, Building Clever Companies, Massey University, UCOL, Helisolutions, BlueSky Group, and Southern Cross International Import & Export Trade Ltd.

Top chef to mentor winners of local food business competition

Fledgling Wellington food businesses have the chance to win free mentoring from experts including top local chef Shepherd Elliott and Supreme Coffee CEO Richard Shirtcliffe with new Good Food Boost programme.

Wellington City Council and The Sustainable Business Network are pleased to be bringing the Good Food Boost programme to Wellington, further enhancing the profile of the city as the sustainable culinary capital and contributing to its economy and reputation as a foodie destination. 

The Good Food Boost will provide a mentoring system that gives support and fast tracks the growth of good food businesses, whilst improving our food systems for now – and into the future. 

“Wellington City Council is delighted to be able to support the Good Food Boost in coming to the capital,” says Mayor Justin Lester. “The programme offers Wellington’s innovative food enterprises the opportunity to develop all aspects of their business.”

Four businesses will be chosen to be part of an eight-week programme to receive support and guidance from leading mentors to give their businesses a boost. 

Winners will receive four mentoring sessions from experts in food and business including Shepherd Elliott, the co-owner of Ti Kouka café, co-founder of Leeds Street Bakery, and founder of Shepherd restaurant, which serves fresh, local, organic food.

The other mentors are Kathryn Robinson (The Assignment Group), Teva Stewart (CommonSense Organics) and Richard Shirtcliffe (Coffee Supreme). Winners will also receive a strategy session with the FoodBowl or NZ Food Innovation Network’s FOODPILOT project, and a one-on-one business development session with the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA).

An experienced line-up of judges including Sarah Meikle (Wellington Culinary Events Trust), Jo Madden (NZ Food Innovation Network), Sarah Adams (WCC Urban Agriculture) and Matt Morrison (All Good Organics and Karma Cola) will assess the applicants on a range of criteria covering everything from taste to traceability. 

Wellington sustainable food businesses are invited to submit their applications from today, Monday 24 July, until Wednesday 30 August. The Good Food Boost is supported by our event partner Le Cordon Bleu. 

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