Palmerston North City Council projects have won two out of six categories, and shared the overall Judges’ Choice Award in the Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards.
The Council’s Framing the Big Picture programme won the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award Best Practice in Governance, Leadership and Strategy award; and its Public Art Programme won the Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Best Creative Place.
The Council was also named joint winner of the MartinJenkins Judges’ choice Award for Performance Excellence and Community Outcomes, sharing the honours with Rotorua Lakes Council.
Now in their fifth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country. This year saw the highest number of entries in the Awards’ history. Winners were announced at the LGNZ conference dinner in Christchurch on 16 July.
The Public Art Programme reflects the council’s integrated approach since 2006, to enable public art to contribute to the quality of life in Palmerston North. It has resulted in widespread accolades, with the city now promoting its status for contemporary and public art as one of its key distinctions.
Framing the Big Picture outlines the councillor-led development of a comprehensive strategic framework to inform the development of the council’s 10-year plan – providing the city with the strongest possible opportunity to build a prosperous future.
Judges said the project “showed a clear vision and strategy operationalised by measurable success indicators and was able to be endorsed by external organisations. It also demonstrates strong links between the Council’s strategy, financial decisions and public engagement.”
The Public Art Programme was praised for its “comprehensive integration of art in city planning and its public spaces, resulting in changing the perception of the city to one that supports the creative sector and improves the accessibility of art.”
LGNZ President Dave Cull said “Our judges commended all the outstanding finalists and winners in the awards across delivery of best practice value and services to their community. The judges recognised this in awarding the first joint award in this category. The leadership shown by Palmerston North City Council and Rotorua Lakes Council is an example to others in the country of strong thinking, excellent community engagement and well-designed execution.”
The winners and finalists incorporate best practice criteria from 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.”