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Frontpage News - June 2016

In this edition of Frontpage News we are delighted to announce the finalists of the 2016 LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards.

We have updates on the Local Government Excellence Programme, the 2016 local elections, the upcoming LGNZ Conference and discussion of New Zealand’s housing situation.

We also provide updates on current workstreams and share local wins and local government media stories.

In this issue

  • LGNZ EXCELLENCE Award finalists
  • Conference
  • LGNZ Excellence Programme
  • Vote2016 – candidates called


We are delighted to announce the finalists in this year’s LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards.

In its third year, the awards programme continues to go from strength to strength.  In 2016 there have been more entrants than in previous years and the calibre of projects and programmes was incredibly high.  Sixty-three applications were received across five award categories from a total of 32 councils nationwide. Of those, 25 finalists have been named.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said local government underpins the social, cultural, economic and environmental outcomes for New Zealand’s communities, from providing vital infrastructure like roads and water management to the place-making initiatives that bring people together.  The awards recognise the best examples of this.

“Most people will not be aware of the vast amount of work that goes on ‘behind the scenes’ at their local council to enable strong and vibrant communities,” said Mr Yule.

“Many New Zealand territorial authorities are facing significant challenges, particularly through changing demographics and environmental issues.  Many exciting and innovative projects are being initiated and delivered to involve communities in decisions and meet their needs within the resources available.

“Through these EXCELLENCE Awards we are able to demonstrate the value local government provides to community, economic development, infrastructure and the environment. This year we have seen an increased number of entries and many exceptional initiatives.”

Judges for the awards were former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, Chair of EQC Sir Maarten Wevers and The New Zealand Initiative’s Executive Director, Dr Oliver Hartwich.

The winners of each of the council categories will be announced at the Fulton Hogan conference dinner and LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards ceremony on Monday 25 July in Dunedin.

The 25 finalists for the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards 2016 are:

Fulton Hogan EXCELLENCE Award for Community Engagement 

Finalists have undertaken a project or programme that has made a positive impact on the community in their town, city, district or region and encouraged effective engagement and participation.

  • Central Otago District Council: Young Driver Programme – Skills Not Thrills  Read more
  • Christchurch City Council: Dudley Creek – Long Term Flood Remediation Project   Read more
  • Environment Southland: Towards a New Plan – Water and Land  Read more
  • Greater Wellington Regional Council – Hutt River City Centre Upgrade Project  Read more
  • Hamilton City Council – Hamilton Central City Safety Plan   Read more
  • Rotorua Lakes Council – Te Arawa Partnership Project  Read more
  • Thames–Coromandel District Council – WWI Memorial Forest  Read more
  • Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group (Waikato Regional Council) – Civil Defence Social Media Strategy  Read more
  • Whangarei District Council – Summer Safe Car Parks Read more  

MartinJenkins EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development

Finalists have led, or are leading, a strategy, project or programme, delivering measureable actions and outcomes contributing to the economic advancement of their town, city, district or region.

  • Canterbury Mayoral Forum – Canterbury Regional Economic Development Strategy  Read more
  • Grey District Council – Grey District Community Economic Development Strategy   Read more
  • Kawerau District Council and Matamata Piako District Council – Seamless Boundaries   Read more
  • Whanganui District Council – Digital Leadership – Whanganui’s Commitment to the benchmarking for Intelligent Community Status   Read more

Chorus EXCELLENCE Award for Best Practice in Infrastructure Management 

Finalists have managed core infrastructure in a manner that meets best practice and resulted in better economic and/or environmental outcomes for their town, city, district or region.

  • Hamilton City Council – Low River Contingency Project  Read more
  • Napier City Council – Marine Parade Outfall and Viewing Platform  Read more
  • Southland District Council –Changing Direction,  The Way Forward for Southland’s Roads  Read more
  • Westland District Council – Water Water Everywhere. Nor Any Drop to Drink. (Blue Spur Water Treatment Plant Expansion Project)  Read more

Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Impact 

Finalists have developed a significant strategy, project or programme that has made a positive and measureable contribution to the quality of the environment in their city, town, district or region.

  • Auckland Council – Hunua Ranges Pest Management Programme   Read more
  • Bay of Plenty Regional Council – Ōhiwa Harbour Strategy Implementation   Read more
  • West Coast Regional Council – The Lake Brunner Water Quality Enhancement Project   Read more

Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Best Creative Place 

Finalists have contributed to a more prosperous and vibrant town, city, district or region by incorporating arts and culture in infrastructure, amenities and local services.

  • Dunedin City Council – Ara Toi Otepoti – Dunedin’s Arts and Culture Strategy  Read more
  • Hamilton City Council – Community Transforms a City Dump   Read more
  • Napier City Council – Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans  Read more
  • New Plymouth District Council – Len Lye Centre Read more
  • Rotorua Lakes Council – Percent-for-Arts Read more

LGNZ Conference registrations still open 

LGNZ's 2016 conference in Dunedin from 24-26 July will focus on place making – creating places where people love to live, work and play.  There will be a strong focus on leading change and building places for tomorrow where families and businesses can prosper.

We have strong ambitions for local government and we are working with our members to raise the value of what our sector can deliver for New Zealand's communities.  Conference will be a chance to showcase our ideas and discuss the new initiatives to make this happen.

The 2015 conference was widely popular among delegates and we are putting a lot of energy into making the 2016 conference the best one yet. We will have highly regarded speakers sharing best practice and take home messages that will allow delegates to make tangible changes to build stronger more vibrant communities.  Click here for the programme and click here to register.

We look forward to another successful conference and hope to see you in July. 

Local Government Excellence Programme 

Local Government New Zealand has announced the establishment of a new independent standards system that measures the performance of local authorities.

The local government standards system will demonstrate and improve the value and services of councils by measuring qualitative and quantitative indicators across leadership, finance, service delivery and community engagement.

Councils participating in the excellence programme will be assessed every three years, given a standard from A to C, and the results publicised.  Councils will discuss results with communities and use the assessments to plan improvements.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule said the system was being set up to give communities a clear and independent picture of how well their council was performing in serving the community.

“This will provide for communities a thorough and trusted standard for council performance.  They will now know that their council meets an A, B, or C standard,” Mr Yule said.

“The system will also help councils lift the quality of services over time so they can deliver top value for communities.  They will now know how they perform in dozens of services and areas that are important to communities.

“The new system will be a gold standard, providing assurance of performance in critical and relevant aspects of council operation.”

“The long term result of this standard will be top value councils for communities – value that can be measured, demonstrated and constantly improved,” Mr Yule said. 

He said LGNZ was in discussions with councils who would join the programme for its inaugural year. Assessments will start later in the year, with results published by early 2017.

The programme has been developed in response to the 2015 New Zealand Local Government Survey, which showed there is an opportunity to lift and demonstrate the service and value councils deliver to their communities.

LGNZ is currently organising a stand-alone Board to oversee the system and contract assessors.

The prospectus here outlines the key features of the Programme.  The supporting document here details the performance assessment system, including the indicators the system will use to measure councils.

Read what others have to say: 


LGNZ advocates that a shared plan should address the many complex factors driving the housing shortage – and that needs to be agreed between central and local government and key players in the construction industry as a matter of urgency.

In particular, we see a focus needed on six areas: 1) funding and financing of infrastructure; 2) addressing land-banking; 3) allowing for local government Urban Development Authorities to speed up development; 4) putting in place tax regimes that de-incentivise investment and speculation in residential property; 5) addressing a skills shortage in the construction industry; and finally 6) addressing an uncompetitive market for building supplies.

One of the most important priorities for local government is to address the question of why residential-zoned, serviced land is not being released to market at the rate sufficient to meet market demand.  There are two main reasons for this: first the challenge of financing and so providing the essential trunk infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewage, to ensure that land is ‘ready to go’; and second the practice of so-called ‘land banking’. 

Mayors whose districts are experiencing high growth have said publicly it is not just a land supply problem.

Metro Sector Chair and Mayor of Tauranga City, Stuart Crosby  said the Government’s recently released draft National Policy Statement r usefully connects theoretical land availability with commercially viable developments.

“However as the Government has acknowledged this is just one part of the programme of the housing policy toolbox,” said Mr Cosby.

“Local government has said the critical part of delivering housing to New Zealanders remains the construction and financing of large scale infrastructure, principally roads, water networks, parks, libraries, and other community facilities.  These are what create sustainable communities.”

It is clear we need to think more broadly to make a difference.  

Candidate Week: a chance to get informed ahead of elections 2016

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) is encouraging potential candidates in the 2016 local elections to make the most of the resources available to them before they start their campaign.

Next week (June 27-July 1) is Candidate Week and councils around the country will be holding workshops for prospective candidates of this year’s local government elections in October.

This is an opportunity for people interested in standing in the 2016 elections to learn more about the nomination and election processes and the roles of councils and elected members.  It’s also a chance to have any questions answered.

“Standing for local council is an incredible opportunity for people to have their say about the issues that affect their community directly and develop their leadership skills,” said LGNZ Chief Executive, Malcolm Alexander.

“While candidate nominations open from 15 July 2016, we want potential candidates to start thinking about their future in local government now, so they have all the support and information they need ahead of the election,” he said.

Mr Alexander said ensuring elected representatives had the abilities, diversity of skills and training to respond to major community issues was an important part of a successful election process.

“Providing communities with a choice of candidates that they feel confident will make the best decisions for their area is vital. We also hope that a pool of competent and passionate candidates will drive even more citizens to vote this year.”

Significant support, including governance training and guidance through LGNZ’s EquiP professional development programme, is provided for newly elected members, and ensures a consistent level of capability across the sector. 

For further information on standing as a candidate visit, contact your local council or get in touch with your electoral officer.


A local government risk agency

Over the last 12 months, under the direction of the LGRA Establishment Board and in partnership with the Crown, a central and local government team has been working with councils to progress a business case to establish a possible Risk Agency for the sector which would give all members access to world-best expertise.  Such an agency could establish guidelines and models for managing risks, and sharing information, strengthening resilience so communities and the nation can recover from disasters more quickly, both economically and socially.

While final decisions on an agency are yet to be made, LGNZ considers there is an opportunity for such a centre of excellence.  A Risk Agency could work with local authorities to achieve a more consistent standard of risk management.  This would have a national benefit, but it could also benefit residents and ratepayers in the event of a disaster.  Such an agency would focus on frameworks and guidelines, and common data standards and methodology.  It could also include financial assistance for local authorities to collect data on natural hazards, and asset state and value, forming a national picture.

LGNZ 2050

The LGNZ 2050 Challenge workstream is an exercise in future thinking designed to stimulate dialogue about the major long-term challenges facing communities in New Zealand over the next 30-50 years – and how they will impact on the four pillars of sustainability: environmental, economic, social and cultural. The 2050 Challenge: future proofing kiwi communities is the first phase of the project and will be launched at the LGNZ conference in July. LGNZ has grouped the challenges under five major themes: urbanisation, liveable cities and changing demographics; stewardship of our natural environment; responding to climate change; equality and cohesion; and democracy, representation and citizenship. 

Resource management

In 2015, LGNZ decided that we needed to take a serious look at a wider environmental management framework.  We asked what should a ‘fit for purpose’ resource management regime look like and whether we need a more revolutionary approach to resource management – one that provides greater certainty for investment, our communities and the environment.  We pulled together a multi-stakeholder group reference group and published our “Blue skies” discussion document about New Zealand’s resource management system in December 2015.

At conference this year, LGNZ will release its follow-up six-point programme of action, designed to address a range of important issues with our resource management system that require both urgent and more longer-term-fundamental attention. 

Local wins

Research shows what Aucklanders expect from council

Auckland Council has gathered more information on what its residents and ratepayers want from their local authority, with the information to be used in performance planning.

The research showed Aucklanders want more evidence that the council is accountable, effective and providing value for money for ratepayers and residents.

The Citizen Insights Monitor measures Aucklanders’ views on the performance of the council across a range of areas, including overall satisfaction, confidence in decision-making and trust in the council. The benchmark research is based on a survey of around 3000 Aucklanders, which will be used to inform the council’s ongoing work to improve performance and value for money. Read more

Innovative technology used to replace sewer pipes

This month contractors have started work on relining sewer mains in Rotorua’s Whakatau area using an innovative process called inversion which involves manufacturing new pipes within old pipes using polyester resin.

The $1.03 million wasterwater pipe renewal project which puts a flexible resin liner inside existing pipes, should be completed by next month.

Because of the process used it should have very little impact on residents, said Rotorua Lakes Council contract supervisor Geoff Kitson.  Read more

NZ first for tourism and visitor information

Ruapehu’s i-SITE network and the Department of Conservation (DoC) are trialling a NZ first by putting an official i-SITE into the DoC Visitor Centre in Whakapapa Village at Mt Ruapehu.

The nine-month trial scheduled to start in July will see trained i-SITE staff provide visitor information and booking services from the DoC Whakapapa Visitor Centre.

Ruapehu i-SITE Manager Kim Treen said that this will now mean that visitors will be able to get expert local advice for all of Ruapehu as well book travel, accommodation and experiences for Ruapehu and anywhere else around NZ.  Read more

Coming up

  • The LGNZ 2016 Conference is just around the corner. We have had a great level of interest from delegates this year and we are very excited about the programme.  Earlybird egistrations are now closed, however there are still spaces left. Click here to register.
  • The Conference programme has a strong speaker line-up. Click here to read what’s in store.
  • Click here for information on master classes, including one from international place making expert Peter Kageyama.

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