The country’s largest roading alliance, set up by Waikato District Council and dramatically improving response times, is 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 Waikato District Alliance is a finalist for the Chorus EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Infrastructure.
The Alliance is a joint venture between the district council and Downer NZ and allows a much quicker response than is possible from a traditional council-contractor relationship.
This was highlighted by the response to the collapse of a culvert on Otonga Valley Road in November 2016.
Resources available to the Alliance enabled transportation to be provided to school students sitting national exams. A bridge deck and crane were taken to the site speedily and the road was returned to service within 20 hours of the collapse.
Response times averaged six days before the Alliance was set up, a day over the agreed performance target. Within three months, the average response time was reduced to less than two days.
Judges praised the Waikato District Alliance as a brilliant project that has already seen some very good results delivered.
“The speed of response has been impressive, they have embedded training and mentorship into the programme, and they have introduced performance benchmarks and are holding people to those benchmarks, which is what an alliance is supposed to do. The project could be replicated by other councils.”
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.