An updated economic development strategy combining a strong international focus with community consultation and alignment with council planning processes has made Hauraki District Council a finalist in the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards.
Now in their fourth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.
The council’s Toward 2025 project updates its 2013 economic development strategy and is a finalist for the Crown Fibre Holdings EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development.
The strategy has led to an $80 million investment from China, and the establishment of an ice cream factory by Chinese company Allied Faxi that includes $20 million in investment and the creation of 30 jobs.
Feedback from community consultation has shown the public wanted the council more proactively involved in economic development and that is reflected in the renewed focus on Hauraki Park.
The industrial park was developed before the council had a formal economic development strategy but was not fulfilling its potential.
In four years all sections of the park have been sold, or have a contract on them, with total investment around $200 million, and the park and surrounding area in Kerepehi has put Hauraki on the map nationally and internationally.
The council is also encouraging investment along the Hauraki Rail Trail, part of a tourism push that saw tourism expenditure increase $23.8 million between 2012 and 2015.
Judges said the Economic Development Strategy showed Hauraki District Council has taken control of its destiny and there have been some early successes as a result.
“The Council has leveraged off a significant local attraction and worked well in collaboration with its partners.”
LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said the finalists in the EXCELLENCE Awards showcased outstanding leadership being provided by local government throughout the country.
“Local government is at the centre of every community in New Zealand, helping shape the environment in which we work and play,” Mr Yule says.
“Being named as a finalist is a great achievement and reflects the vision shown by councils and the innovative work being done by staff. The finalists include some truly exceptional projects that are having a profound impact on communities.”
Local authorities were invited to submit award applications in five categories:
- 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
Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich.