Frontpage News - May 2016

Published: May 18, 2016

News type: National news   

Vote2016 major partners coming on board

LGNZ has signed up a number of major partners in the Vote2016 campaign, and with several more in the pipeline.

Local election turnout has been declining since the 1980s with only 42 per cent of New Zealanders voting in the 2013 elections. Vote2016 aims to lift nationwide voter participation in the October local council elections to more than 50 per cent.

LGNZ has already welcomed some major Vote2016 partners including several Chambers of Commerce (Business Central, Canterbury Employers, Hutt, Kapiti and Taranaki) Federated Farmers, Fish and Game NZ, Iwi Leaders Forum, Ministry for Women, Neighbourly.co.nz, NZ Council for Infrastructure Development, Property Council New Zealand, NZ Public Service Association and major media network NZME.

“Getting these major partners on board is integral to the Vote2016 campaign – they’ll each bring their own expertise and networks to help reach and inspire voters and candidates. They can relate and extend Vote2016’s messages to their audiences, increasing the reception and reach of the campaign while using the wider platform to promote their message.”

Mr Yule said LGNZ research shows a significant number of citizens are interested in the local government process but don’t vote, or want to vote but say it’s too hard to find the information to  make an informed decision about candidates.

“With the support of these partners, Vote2016 will ensure voters have access to the information they need about local candidates standing and about the voting process, including when, where and how they can vote,” said Mr Yule.

“These partners will also help inspire the committed and talented people in their networks to stand for office locally and to vote in their local elections as that’s the most powerful ways to influence positive outcomes in their communities,” he said.

LGNZ are interested in talking to other organisations that would like to support Vote2016 – please contact philip.shackleton@lgnz.co.nz for more information.

Funding tourism infrastructure

Tourism in New Zealand is an $81.6 million per day industry ($29.8 billion per year) and the Tourism 2025 growth framework aims to grow total tourism revenue to $41 billion a year by 2025. For councils such as Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) who hosts around 2.5 million visitors with a population of 23,000 ratepayers, visitors could account for over 35 per cent of QLDC’s infrastructure costs in regard to things like water, roads and waste.

Local businesses benefit hugely from tourism dollars being spent, but a decline in the quality of infrastructure could negatively impact on New Zealand’s reputation as a tourist destination – and a small town shouldn’t have to fund an entire infrastructure to subsidise a national industry. LGNZ is advocating on the need for central and local government to work together to co-invest on infrastructure in tourist areas.

“With the ambitious plans to grow the New Zealand tourism sector, the role of local government in helping to support and strengthen the industry is crucial,” says Local Government New Zealand President, Lawrence Yule.

LGNZ and MBIE are exploring options for addressing persistent barriers to regional economic development and growth, which include the issue of funding infrastructure in high volume tourist areas. One potential option are Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which could provide a mechanism for addressing these barriers in a way that will enable exploration, potential trial and implementation of solutions. It also enables a “user pays” approach to funding existing and future infrastructure requirements to help lift the ratepayer burden.

Last week, LGNZ welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement of a $12 million Regional Mid-sized Tourism Facilities Fund over four years, which will assist local authorities facing infrastructure stress from the current tourism boom.

Mr Yule says, “Although this is a welcomed boost, LGNZ will continue to advocate for more long-term and sustainable funding for tourism infrastructure.”

“Going forward, it will be important that visitors pay their fair share for use of facilities provided by councils to support New Zealand’s successful tourism industry,” concluded Mr Yule.

 

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs launches drivers licensing initiative

Steering Aotearoa is a pilot programme which will provide an evidence base and support the vision that “all students” gain their learners, restricted and full licences while at secondary school”. The programme was launched by the Mayors Tasksforce for Jobs (MTFJ) on 2 May in partnership with Massey University and Connecting for Youth Employment – Central Hawke’s Bay (CYE).

The Waipukurau pilot was initiated after the MTFJ identified that one of the biggest barriers to employment for young people was a lack of driver’s licence. The issue is common, especially in the more rural communities throughout New Zealand, and has been identified as a MTFJ priority for the next 12 months.

The pilot programme is being run within Central Hawke’s Bay College and Waikpukurau was selected as a suitable community where the critical components to the programme could be tested, as well as identifying how it could be ‘scaled’ into other communities. The free programme is being funded by Local Government New Zealand, which is also watching how it progresses, says chief executive Malcolm Alexander.

“We have a responsibility to make this works and if it works here it will work everywhere else,” says Mr Alexander.

Twenty students, all 16 years of age, will participate in the pilot and will progress through the learners and restricted stage of the NZ graduated drivers licence system throughout the 2016 calendar year. The pilot will not only give students the opportunity to gain a licence; it was also providing them with professional driver training, driver mentors and supports, and education about safety on the roads.

Following the 2016 pilot programme in Waipukurau, the MTFJ will work with Massey University on developing the research findings and a business case which will support the overall aim of the initiative. These finding will then be presented to government ministers.

LGNZ Conference 2016 

As part of the ‘Place making - creating places where people love to live, work and play’ theme, LGNZ is pleased to have keyspeakers, Peter Kageyama and Jeb Brugmann on the programme for its conference in July - the full programme is available here.

Peter Kageyama, author and international thought leader, will present a keynote session on Engaging our communities and telling our stories. During the session, Peter will take a look at what makes cities lovable, and what motivates citizens to do extraordinary things for their places. He will also be presenting a masterclass on Customer-centric services and innovative engagement.

Jeb Brugmann, Founder of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability - and Managing Partner of The Next Practice innovation consultancy, will be joining us from Ontario, Canada to present a keynote session on Building resilient places, as well as a masterclass focused on Resilient towns, cities and regions – creating places for the future.

Networking and social events

In partnership with its conference sponsors,  LGNZ will be offering an impressive array of social events for full registration delegates this year, including:

The Simpson Grierson welcome cocktail reception will be held at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum, 6-7.30pm, Sunday 24 July. The museum is housed in the original Edwardian galleries and Dunedin's former New Zealand Rail Road Transport building. Cocktails, canapes and live entertainment will be on offer at this formal event, promising delegates an evening of class and excitement.

The Transpower breakfast session with Riley Elliott a.k.a the 'Shark Man' will be held at the Dunedin Centre, 7-8.15am, Monday 25 July. We are incredibly excited to have Riley joining us as our key speaker and we are confident delegates will thoroughly enjoy hearing his out of the ordinary work stories!

The Fulton Hogan conference dinner and LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards evening is a formal black and white tie event at the Edgar Centre, Monday 25 July. The evening will be hosted by Petra Bagust and Mark Sainsbury, and promises to provide a wonderful evening of fine cuisine, great entertainment and celebration of councils' excellent performance.

Early bird discount is available for the conference until 1 June. Click here to register.

Predator free vision gains LGNZ support 

An approach from Predator Free New Zealand Trust (PFNZ) to work more closely with local and regional councils around the country has met with a positive response from the National Council of Local Government New Zealand.

“The whole predator free thing is really getting traction all over New Zealand – from Taranaki to Picton to Hauraki Gulf,” says PFNZ chairman, Rob Fenwick, “and councils are right in the centre of it. There are some fantastic predator control case studies already underway, for example the Cape to City project in the Hawkes Bay.”

That aim is supported by LGNZ. Both PFNZ and LGNZ want to see a more strategically focussed support for predator control, particularly where communities and private land owners are engaged. Going forward, LGNZ will also undertake to promote stronger engagement of local community groups and landowners to the PFNZ national map.

Fenwick says local government already has strong connections with local landowners, community groups and volunteers and has the ability to inspire and support the local predator free vision.

“Community enthusiasm is infectious,” he says. “We want to win over the hearts and minds of New Zealanders, ultimately”, says Fenwick, “We want a strong relationship to enable us to recruit an army of volunteers nationally and make predator free New Zealand a reality.”

New approaches to consultation on annual plans

Local Government Act 2002 (LGA) was amended in 2014 so councils are able tailor the way they consult on their draft annual plans and budgets. As a result, some councils are using more innovative approaches to consultation, while reducing costs and allowing more focused consultation for communities which are most likely to be affected by any changes.

Since the changes, this is the first year the new provisions have applied, and we are pleased to see a range of different approaches from councils - including those that have decided not to consult:

  • Western Bay of Plenty District Council is asking for written feedback on its draft annual plan, being present at local events and holding a drop-in-day for people who want more information or to give their views;
  • Tasman District Council has adopted a consultation strategy that involves placing articles in local newspapers, both hard copy and online; organising community meetings and making use of social media, local radio, and website material;
  • Bay of Plenty Regional Council has decided not to invite submissions on its annual plan and instead to manage public contact through the council’s normal communication channels, rather than providing for a specific Annual Plan submission;
  • Western Bay of Plenty District Council is “simply inviting the community to tell us what they think - online, by email, in person or on hard copy feedback forms”; and
  • Rotorua District Council is providing information on the changes proposed in its annual plan and asking residents to let their councillors know what they think.

In making the call of whether or not to consult, and how to consult, councils must asses whether or not they are planning to make changes to their Long Term Plans (LTPs) over the coming year.  If the changes are significant and greater than ‘material’, the annual plan is considered an amendment to the LTP and councils need to follow the special consultative procedure. If the changes are ‘material’ they need to consult, but have considerable flexibility in the way in they do consultation occurs, as long as their approach fulfils the principles in s.82 of the LGA.  If no material changes are proposed then councils are not required to consult.


Workstreams

Local Governance Excellence Programme

The Local Government Excellence Programme is being developed to improve the public’s knowledge of the work councils are doing in their communities, and to support individual councils to further improve the value they provide to all New Zealanders.

Feedback from 16 sector workshops in March and April has highlighted general support for a sector-led programme to lift performance and reputation that can demonstrate success at both an individual and sector level. There was also broad support for measures across the four proposed priority areas and the publication of an assessment.

The programme is now due to be fine-tuned and rolled out from mid 2016.


A new Resource Management framework

LGNZ’s December 2015 paper A ‘blue skies’ discussion about New Zealand’s resource management system drew on the views of a cross-sector group of experts and practitioners to take a “first principles” look at New Zealand’s resource management system.

The paper highlighted a series of key concerns regarding the performance of the system and concluded that our resource management system is not delivering. LGNZ invited feedback and received 21 submissions from a range of organisations and individuals.

The discussion document has now been progressed to a Programme of Action, and the Blue Skies Reference Group has now been asked to consider the first draft. LGNZ is looking to finalise the document for release at its conference in July.

LGNZ’s submission to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill is available here.


LGNZ 2050 A Sustainable Future

LGNZ 2050 A Sustainable Future is an initiative arising from Young Elected Members’ network. The project is intended to stimulate discussion about the major challenges facing New Zealand’s communities over the next 30-50 years and the implications of these challenges for local government. The Young Elected Members’ network has set itself an objective of contributing quality policy input at the local, national and global level.

An issues paper is currently being prepared and a think piece will be launched at the LGNZ conference in July, after which it will be circulated for feedback and comment.

The issues paper is concerned with identifying the ‘enduring’ questions - that it is the challenges and opportunities that persist over time and have the greatest impact on achieving a sustainable New Zealand. Amongst the themes already identified are:

  • Urbanisation and changing demographic;
  • Stewardship of our natural environment;
  • Responding to climate change;
  • The future of work; and
  • Equality and social cohesion.

In addition to exploring the implications of each theme, the issues paper will consider the way in which the themes interact and how these interactions are likely to impact on councils and their communities.

Local Government Risk Agency

The Establishment Board has been set up to develop the detailed design of the Local Government Risk Agency (LGRA) to Ministers Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-liga and Hon Nikki Kaye by June 2016 - and to move the initiative forward to execution.

The group was tasked with:

  1. Identifying the detailed risk management and financing / insurance services that may be provided to the local authority sector and how these services might be delivered;
  2. Developing a three to five year plan that describes the benefits (including any risk reduction and sector efficiencies that might be achievable), growth and financial sustainability of an agency;
  3. Developing a business case on whether to establish an LGRA;
  4. Investigating whether the current 60/40 cost sharing arrangement with the Crown, or any alternatives developed, can be used to incentivise good risk management practices; and
  5. Engaging with the local authority and central government sectors and other parties as deemed appropriate, through the process.

The objective of this governance model for the Local Government Risk Agency (LGRA) is to incentivise uptake of LGRA services in the local government sector while minimising compliance costs.


Coming up

LGNZ Conference 2016

This year LGNZ’s annual conference and EXCELLENCE Awards will be held in Dunedin from 24-26 July 2016. Registrations are now open and early bird discount is available until 1 June. Click here to register.


Wild Places: EDS’s Conference 2016

EDS’s 2016 conference (10-11 Aug) will explore New Zealand’s Wild Places and assess both emerging threats and exciting new opportunities. It will draw on insights from international and local experience, case studies and workshops. It will look creatively at the development of powerful new synergies between conservation and tourism and will explore novel management and funding initiatives.

Visit the conference website for more information.

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