Strong community engagement around the future management of wastewater in Wairoa has won the District Council a finalist place in the Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards 2018 in the Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement.
Now in their fifth year, the Awards recognise and celebrate the key leadership role that local government plays in communities around the country.
The Council is a finalist for the Wairoa Wastewater Stakeholder Group initiative. The Council established the Stakeholder Group as it undertook community consultation about the future management of wastewater – ahead of Resource Consent for the town’s community wastewater scheme expiring in 2019.
The goal was to promote wider discussion about future planning, using focused discussions and workshops that were genuine and meaningful.
The stakeholder group was made up of a cross-section of the community and contributed to stronger relationships and wider Council understanding of the depth of concern held by iwi and the wider community about discharges into the Wairoa River.
Judges said “This was an inclusive, solutions-focussed and pragmatic response to a presenting issue on wastewater management that included strong iwi participation and two-way community engagement.”
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. Wairoa District Council is a Foundation Member of this programme.
“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.