Auckland Council has been given a special honour at the 2021 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards this evening for its exceptional COVID-19 response.
The council was presented with the Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs EXCELLENCE Award for Outstanding Contribution to Local Government. This award usually acknowledges a single person’s outstanding contribution to local government sector over their career, but LGNZ’s National Council broke with tradition to focus on recognising the great efforts of the local government sector throughout the pandemic.
The National Council members praised the way Auckland Council had stepped up to the frontline of our nation’s pandemic response.
They noted: “The work undertaken by the sector to keep communities safe during the lockdowns, as well as taking a leading role in the infrastructure-led recovery, can only be described as extraordinary.
“But one council’s efforts clearly stood out. Long after life in the rest of Aotearoa New Zealand had largely returned to normal after the initial lockdowns, Aucklanders had to remain on guard due to the city’s role as our gateway to a world rampant with Covid. They were the door through which returning New Zealanders could come home, and vital trade goods could come in and out of the country.
“That necessary and vital connection came at a heavy economic and social price, with the city enduring a number of regional lockdowns. The Auckland Council team were at the heart the response to these outbreaks, ensuring that 1.5 million people remained safe as these flare-ups were eliminated.”
The 2021 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards winners:
- Ōpōtiki District Council (in partnership with Whakatōhea) won the MartinJenkins EXCELLENCE Award for Economic Well-being and the overall award for the Ōpōtiki Harbour Transformation Project. The Council also won the Local EXCELLENCE Award in recognition of the increased value, benefit or improvements to the overall well-being of the people within their town, city, district or region.
- Hastings District Council won both the Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities EXCELLENCE Award for Social Well-being for its highly successful Place-Based Housing Plan, and the Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Cultural Well-being for the Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre project. It was also highly commended in the Social Well-being category for its Mahi for Youth Programme.
- Hamilton City Council won the Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Well-being for its new rubbish and recycling service.
The awards, which are open to all New Zealand’s 78 local authorities, recognise and celebrate excellence of work undertaken by local councils to promote and grow the well-being of communities.