Port Vila Municipal Council (PVMC) activities include waste and public facilities management (waterfront, cemetery, library services, parks and recreation areas), wardens, town planning, and regulatory roles in building and environmental health.
Urban management and place-shaping (including community events and laneways development), council services and financial management were the themes of a study tour by Port Vila Municipal Council in January 2019.
Like Wellington, Port Vila city faces a growing population and needs new houses, transport networks, infrastructure and services that are developed sustainably to benefit a capital city that is also the gateway to Vanuatu.
Site visits to a range of Tararua District Council services included water and wastewater operations, and a meeting with Downer NZ Ltd and Tararua District Council to learn more about their roading alliance contract.
In Hastings, the Port Vila team viewed the Omaranui landfill gas generation plant – another collaboration between a council and the private sector. Pioneer Energy began construction of the 900kWe landfill gas generation plant in April 2014, in a limited partnership with the Hastings District Council, for a term of 30 years.
The total area of land purchased for the Omaranui landfill is 191 hectares. Four valleys have been identified on the site as being suitable for refuse disposal, with an overall capacity of 50 years and the possibility of a further 20 years being investigated. It was noted, however, that as the economy grows so does waste.
Financial sustainability is critical for Port Vila Municipal Council. PVMC has faced many challenges in the last 10-15 years including the suspension of the Council due to high debt (2012), changes in the Town Clerk, and legal challenges on proposed by-laws.
Port Vila Municipal Council recognise the need to re-build community and central government confidence in existing services and decision-making, and are currently implementing a number of measures to support this. These improvements include:
Asset management and maintenance plans for the waterfront and other assets are fundamental to the delivery of services. Asset plans provide the basis for revenue requirements for Port Vila Municipal Council assets.
After an initial scoping visit in February 2018, the PacificTA programme will work with Port Vila Municipal Council on finance and management functions and asset management of the waterfront area.
PacificTA hosted a delegation from Vanuatu to meet with New Zealand local authorities, in March 2018. The purpose of the visit was a ‘fact-finding’ mission to learn about New Zealand approaches to managing urbanisation. They were particularly interested in learning about working with iwi and communities, local government funding models and approaches for encouraging economic development in rural communities.
Participants on the Ministry of Internal Affairs delegation included the:
In Wellington, the Minister met with Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Fletcher Tabuteau, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs and Regional Economic Development.
The delegation also met with Greater Wellington Regional Council, the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office and Wellington City Council to discuss natural hazard management.
The week culminated in Northland, with a presentation from Northland Regional Council on local government collaboration in the region, and Kaipara District Council, where the delegation visited the water treatment plant (as well as a moment to relax in the sun!).
The first PacificTA assignments in Vanuatu were completed in November 2013.
The Manager for Human Resources at Central Hawkes Bay District Council assisted provincial government in Vanuatu with developing a human resources practice. Tararua District Council was also part of the programme, working with Port Vila Municipal Council on rates systems.