Local Government New Zealand’s National Council has announced the creation of an LGNZ Covid Recovery Fund, which will be used to deliver free digital training to support mayors, chairs and elected members in their post-Covid decision-making.
The Covid crisis has had a significant impact on local government, affecting every area of operations, from the provision of essential lifeline services such as drinking, waste and stormwater, rubbish and recycling, to the upkeep and maintenance of local roads, recreation facilities, libraries, and everything that makes our towns and cities the places communities love.
With reduced funding streams, councils are under increased pressure to reduce spending and lower rates, but at the same time have been tasked by central government to lead an infrastructure-based economic recovery and other initiatives.
In partnership with EquiP, the Recovery Fund aims to provide an ongoing resource that will further assist councils and leave a lasting legacy of deep institutional knowledge. To make this happen, LGNZ will sponsor the first 12 months of the new platform, making a wide range of digital training modules and webinars free for elected members over that period, from next week.
LGNZ President Dave Cull highlighted that now more than ever, professional development and guidance is essential.
“Experience tells us that in times of economic hardship, training budgets and professional development are among the first items to be cut, but ironically it is during times of crisis that councils really rely on the skills and knowledge they gain from training.”
Councils are making hard decisions about spending right now, which means it makes sense for us to utilise some of LGNZ’s financial reserves, and find a way to reach elected members digitally. Good governance doesn’t just happen, it comes from education and improvement, and we want to champion that.”
To help EquiP target the most pressing areas of need and guidance, a sector advisory group will be formed, comprising elected members, officials from rural, provincial, metro and regional sectors, and Te Maruata, community board and Young Elected Member (YEM) representatives. The resources will be available on a new revamped, easy to use and interactive digital platform.
“Under this new model, every month elected members can expect to receive access to new, substantive content that tackles the biggest issues and governance topics facing the local government sector. Having this content and the viewpoints of some of New Zealand’s leading experts streamed directly to our members will provide real benefit to councils and communities.”