NZ Local Government Magazine 1503

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Geospatial experts map out walking paths & cycleways p16


On making every minute count p20


Local government’s fantastic EAs & PAs p24


New Plymouth District Council turns mobile-first p30

DOLLARS & SENSE How should local government be funded? p12


We're right there with you

What corporates can learn from local authorities and vice versa Commercial private sector organisations have traditionally viewed tax as a cost of doing business. As the desire to be seen as “good corporate citizens” has increased, the public/ political risk of failing to pay tax has become a matter of focus for major corporates. So, a change in the tax climate is evident. Corporates are becoming more and more concerned with managing their tax risk profile. This means improving transparency around their tax affairs, and becoming more diligent around the management of tax risk. This is being led at the governance level of the corporate with a high focus on income tax. Consequently, other taxes, such as PAYE, GST and withholding taxes, are often overlooked.

Where local authorities have excelled For local authorities, the levels of tax payable have always been relatively minor in comparison with their total expenditure outlays. Consequently tax minimisation has never been a major driver for most Councils. Conversely, ratepayers expect value from the rates they pay. So, being overly conservative in the payment of tax is not an option either. Put simply, most local authorities act as significant collectors of tax and need to minimise the risk of both over and under payment of all taxes. In addition, with local authorities undertaking major capital projects, which are often subjected to public scrutiny, accurate costings (including tax costs) are essential. Failure to get these matters right, can lead to ratepayer or Auditor General inquiry and political consequences for elected members. By necessity, therefore, most local authorities have taken a very clear path in managing their tax risk. At TaxTeam we like to think we have been instrumental in encouraging this. It is a path that many corporates are now choosing to follow. The tax risk management of most local authorities involves five interrelated activities. At the heart of the tax risk management framework are clear policies and procedures. It is essential that, these are relevant to the organisations activities, are up to date and constitute a reference point for staff with tax responsibilities.

L-R: Richard Toovey, Phil Fisher, Michelle Macdonald, Jeff Eaton.

These policies are informed by other areas of tax risk management. Probably the most important, is having a point of referral where tax expertise can be sought. For a corporate this will usually be an inhouse tax expert. However, for most local authorities, this would be an outsourced tax helpdesk facility. Also of vital importance is tax training. This ensures the policies remain relevant and that staff are constantly reminded of the resource available. It is inevitable that any organisation will need detailed tax advice or rulings over particular transactions and will want an independent review of its tax compliance on a rotational basis. Again, the outcome of each of these will inform the tax policies. The following model summarises the tax risk management process adopted by a number of local authorities. If it is working well, major tax risks can be averted. Ignoring any area of the framework clearly exposes the organisation to tax risk.


Tax compliance reviews

Tax policies Tax helpdesk

Where corporates have taken the lead The concern for us at TaxTeam (and a concern also raised by Inland Revenue) is that, unlike major corporates, the governance level of the local authority is often unaware of, or involved in, the implementation and operation of the framework. In other words the risk management framework is a management tool only. This means the governance level of a local authority has very little comprehension of its tax risks. It means that management has no clear guidance on key matters such as: • The expectations regarding tax planning within the organisation • When to use external tax advisors • When to provide tax input into proposed projects It is the awareness of tax risk at a governance level where the private sector corporate leads the way. Most major corporates have specifically assessed how tax fits into their long term plans, whether the organisation is structured appropriately, whether the right people are engaged and whether systems are producing the necessary information. This is the challenge ahead for local authorities if they are to continue to lead the way in managing tax risk.


Tax training

Level 6, 44 Victoria Street, Wellington 6011 Telephone: 04 494 2390 Facsimile: 04 494 2399 Web:





2 Editor’s Letter 4 In Brief 10 Events 11 Around the Councils 45 LGNZ

12 D OLLARS & SENSE How should local government be funded? 16 O N TRACK Geospatial experts map out walking paths and cycleways 24 I N PRAISE OF GOOD WORK Local government’s fantastic EAs & PAs 26 S TEPPING UP & HELPING OUT This year’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Awards winners 29 WHEN THE CLOUD BURSTS Understanding the risks 30 G OING DIGITAL New Plymouth District Council turns mobile-first 34 C REATIVE THINKING Fun ways to refine complex ideas and get clarity 36 D OWN AT THE SHARP END Managing customer complaints

38 Peter McKinlay: On Funding 40 Linda O’Reilly: On Legal Issues 41 Drew Mehrtens: On Communications 42 Jeremy Elwood: On the Funny Stuff 43 M alcolm Abernethy: From Civil Contractors New Zealand 44 Lawrence Yule: From LGNZ







MY VIEW 20 G ORE’S STEVE PARRY On making every minute count


Dollars & sense: How should local government be funded? See page 12.

Cover image: © Selensergen |





Brave conversations Sometimes the brave conversations just need to be had. So big ups to LGNZ for having the insight and courage to corral the facts and ideas behind how local government is – and could be – funded. For, like it or not, the current funding system won’t see us into the future. Something needs to change. For our part, this month we’ve gone out to five mayors, whose organisations face a variety of very different issues, asking them to share their thoughts on how local government could be funded and what the suggestions in LGNZ’s review may, or may not, mean for their local authorities and ratepayers. Their perspectives are enlightening. So, too, is an altogether different argument put forward by Victoria University of Wellington academic Peter McKinlay who calls for an even wider discussion taking into account a comparative look across both central and local government. As I said, these are brave conversations indeed. I’m heartened that so many people are keen to share their thoughts on such an important topic. The growing willingness of increasing numbers of people to voice their opinions through our magazine is especially encouraging. In its own modest way, this magazine exists to help local government leaders make New Zealand a better place. And if we can do that by encouraging informed and intelligent debate so much the better. I’m also heartened this month by the highly-personal stories of work well done by some of local government’s unsung heroes – the executive and personal assistants who back up some of the sector’s most senior performers. These heartwarming words of praise are genuinely felt. So much so that I’d like to run more such accolades in future issues of the magazine. So please let me know about the unsung heroes in your organisation. For now, all I can say is I wish I had a Natasha, Lisa, Sally, Diane or Wendy.

Ruth Le Pla, Editor

PUBLISHER Contrafed Publishing Co. Ltd, Suite 2.1, 93 Dominion Rd, Mount Eden, Auckland 1024 PO Box 112 357, Penrose, Auckland 1642 Phone: 09 636 5715, Fax: 09 636 5716 GENERAL MANAGER Kevin Lawrence DDI: 09 636 5710 Mobile: 021 512 800 EDITOR Ruth Le Pla Mobile: 021 266 3978 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Peter Corcoran DDI: 07 825 7557 Mobile: 021 272 7227 CONTRIBUTORS Malcolm Abernethy, Jeanette Bremner, Len Brown, Don Cameron, John Carter, Jeremy Elwood, David Hammond, Andrew Judd, Tony Kokshoorn, Gill Lawrence, Peter McKinlay, Drew Mehrtens, Linda O’Reilly, Penny Pirrit, Jason Price, Jenny Rowan, Gallo Saidy, Karen Stephens, Andy Watson, Tanya Winter, Lawrence Yule ADMINISTRATION/SUBSCRIPTIONS DDI: 09 636 5715 PRODUCTION Design: Jonathan Whittaker Printing: PMP MAXUM CONTRIBUTIONS WELCOME Please contact the editor before sending them in. Articles in Local Government Magazine are copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher. DISCLAIMER Local Government Magazine is an independent publication owned and produced by Contrafed Publishing. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of any of its shareholding organisations. @nzlgmagazine ISSN 0028-8403

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TRANSPORT McConnell Dowell and NZTA connecting communities with the Waitaki Bridges


Trade certification for infrastructure workers The civil infrastructure industry has taken a major step towards establishing a recognised trade qualification for its workers, many of whom deliver projects for local authorities. Unlike building, plumbing and electrical workers, people in the civil infrastructure industry in jobs such as road building and pipe laying, have no industry-wide and transferrable trade qualification. A Civil Trades Certification Board has been established to oversee the initiation of the new trade regime and the registration of civil infrastructure tradespeople. The board had its inaugural meeting in Wellington in January and it is expected that the first registrations for trade certification will be midway through this year. The initiative has wide industry support and is being promoted through Connexis, the industry training organisation for the infrastructure industry, along with SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team) which is providing a project manager to help the trade certification get underway.

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Inaugural chair of the Civil Trades Certification Board Dave Connell says taking the first step towards trades certification for civil infrastructure is exciting but well overdue. “Trade certification will fundamentally change how the civil infrastructure industry works. We currently rely on labourers and plant operators supervised by foremen and have work signed off by engineers. A regulated trades regime will see certified tradespeople take ownership and provide the craftsmanship required for delivery of a product or construction activity,” he says. “It will be game-changing for the industry and the people who work in it.” The Civil Trades Certification Board has been officially established to maintain and govern the trades’ certification regime on behalf of Civil Contractors New Zealand (CCNZ) which represents contractors who carry out the country’s civil infrastructure construction and maintenance work. CCNZ estimates that the civil construction

sector carries out more than $12 billion worth of work annually and employs in excess of 40,000 workers. Much of the work is civil infrastructure funded by local authorities. Dave Connell says the trade certification will empower and advantage workers who will have a recognised and transferrable trade behind them. He says for employers it means more engaged workers who are more productive and safer and with an expected outcome of less on-job re-work required. Connexis ITO chief executive Helmut Modlik says the establishment of the Civil Trades Certification Board is a significant milestone. “Introducing a trade regime for civil infrastructure has been something that has been wanted by the industry for a long time. A number of factors, including the Christchurch rebuild and the increasing need for experienced and qualified infrastructure workers across New Zealand, has meant tangible progress has now been made. This is a significant step for both the industry and its workers,” he says.

Government’s procurement rules From February 1 this year, the government’s rules of sourcing have extended their reach to become mandatory for scores more public organisations than previously. Caroline Boot, founder and managing partner of Clever Buying, says that while councils are still not legally required to follow the rules to the letter, they cannot afford to ignore their responsibilities to demonstrate sound procurement practices. Caroline trains and assesses tender evaluators for national procurement qualifications – she is an NZTA-qualified evaluator – and is an active contributor to a number of national and regional procurement forums. She notes that government’s five principles of procurement became mandatory for all government organisations nearly two years ago. But she adds that it’s surprising how many council personnel, engaged in developing or evaluating tender documents every day, are unaware or dismissive of their accountabilities. The five principles require all government

organisations, including councils, to (for example): • Offer opportunities for debriefs to unsuccessful suppliers; • Make it clear how a tender will be evaluated; • Understand their market, engage with their suppliers so they can plan, and remain impartial; • Include consideration of social, environmental and whole-of-life costs in their purchasing decisions. Caroline says that as the government rules of sourcing tighten their hold on public procurement, prudent councils will stay ahead of the trend and embed those good practices in every aspect of their procurement. They include, for example: • Allowing set minimum time periods for tender responses (mostly these are around 20 to 25 business days, with some deductions possible); • Openly advertising opportunities on GETS (the Government Electronic Tenders Service) – to get the greatest level of competition possible; • Preparing and using annual procurement

Caroline Boot

plans and extended procurement forecasts; • Avoiding applying technical specifications or conformance standards that would create obstacles for some suppliers; and • Including the evaluation criteria, and an indication of the relative importance of each one, in the request for tender (RFT). With solid procurement principles in place, the next step is to back those up with tools that bolt those principles home. For example: • Prequalification systems that eliminate unsuitable suppliers early in the process; • Targeted RFT questions that focus on the factors that will differentiate a great bidder from a merely good one; • Anchored marking scales to encourage consistent, fast marking processes and make the decision clearly justified; and • Clever response templates that reduce the time and frustration that evaluators have in searching for the information that they need to mark. Together with government’s five principles and its rules of sourcing, these tools provide councils with powerful means to make their tendering processes faster, more accurate and less expensive.

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IN BRIEF DATES FOR YOUR DIARY MARCH 2-3 The Art of Deliberate Success for Local Government Managers. James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington

12 - 13 EAs & PAs Working in Local Government Forum – 2015. Chateau on the Park, Christchurch

4-5 PPP Procurement & Contracts for the Public Sector. Wellington

16 - 17 Safety360 Conference. SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland

4-5 Energy Management for Facilities Managers. Auckland

23 - 24 One-Stop Update for the Accountant in the Public Sector. Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington

9 - 10 Road Lighting 2015. Langham Hotel, Auckland

25 - 26 Road Infrastructure Management Forum. Rendezvous Grand Hotel, Auckland

9 - 10 2015 ALGIM Infrastructure Symposium. Rendezvous Grand Hotel, Auckland

25 - 27 NZ Land Treatment Collective Annual Conference. Wanaka

11 2015 New Zealand CFO Summit and Awards. SKYCITY Convention Centre, Auckland

30 - 31 LGMA Management Challenge: NZ Leg. Trentham Gardens, Upper Hutt

UK, Singapore, USA... Wellington Data warehousing and big data specialist WhereScape has opened an office in Wellington, bringing its software capabilities closer to the government market. The local team will be backed by the global WhereScape organisation with experience in traditional technologies such as Teradata, SQL Server and Oracle, as well as newer tools such as Hadoop, Netezza, Greenplum and Microsoft Analytics Platform System. WhereScape CEO Michael Whitehead ponders the irony of the company currently having more government clients in Canberra than in Wellington but expects a local presence to change that.

Michael Whitehead

Represents New Zealand’s Civil and General Contracting Industry Vision

A healthy, innovative, competitive and productive industry, which enables us to build a better New Zealand.

A healthy civil construction sector is one where skilled and qualified clients, consultants and contractors produce outcomes that deliver value for money for all participants. It is the result of investment in people, forward planning, fair and consistent procurement strategies, competition in the supply chain and growth opportunities for those willing and able to take up the challenge. CCNZ QPH 64x180 March 2015 v2.indd 1

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17/02/15 10:53 am

30 - 31 IPWEA NZ Local Government Infrastructure Management Forum. Rydges Wellington


28 - 29 NZ Building & Construction Law Conference. Crowne Plaza, Auckland


14 - 17 New Zealand Planning Institute 2015 Conference. Aotea Centre, Auckland

14 - 16 New Zealand Community Boards Conference 2015. Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Waitangi, Bay of Islands

16 Inaugural SOLGM Gala Dinner & Awards. The InterContinental, Wellington

18 - 19 2015 ALGIM Web & Digital Symposium. Rydges Latimer Square, Christchurch

19 - 22 Building Officials Institute of New Zealand Annual Conference & Expo. SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland

20 - 22 Asia Pacific International Stormwater Conference. Pullman Auckland

22 - 23 2015 ALGIM GIS Symposium. Rendezvous Grand Hotel, Auckland

25 - 26 Acting Global – Energy Management Association Conference 2015. Mac’s Function Centre, Wellington

Would you like us to include your event in this calendar? Please email details to

Skill shortage slows construction work The New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS) says a shortage of qualified and experienced quantity surveyors is hampering urgent construction work, particularly in Christchurch and Auckland. According to NZIQS president Julian Mace, the biggest problem is finding quantity surveyors with appropriate practical work experience. Online job advertisements for quantity surveyors increased 26 percent over 12 months from June 2013. Since 2009/10 around 560 visa and work permits have been approved for quantity surveyors to enter New Zealand. Julian says quantity surveyors immigrating to New Zealand often have

valuable offshore experience of large-scale buildings, developments and infrastructure that is useful given what’s happening in Christchurch. However, he says NZIQS is hearing reports of unqualified and inexperienced quantity surveyors doing work that is not up to standard and that is to the detriment of customers. According to the government’s Occupation Outlook 2015 report, there are 2150 quantity surveyors in New Zealand and the engineer professionals sector is tipped to grow at just under four percent a year for the next few years.





New cloud-based service Knowledge management experts Information Leadership and cloud services specialists Revera have launched two alternative options for organisations considering a transition to the cloud for information management. According to them, C-Stack iWorkplace and Homeland Cloud iWorkplace as Infrastructure as a Service platforms deliver the benefits of Microsoft 365 or All of Government Enterprise Content Management options without their downsides. Information Leadership director Sarah Heal says it’s important public sector organisations in particular are aware of other options such as this. “There are some misperceptions in the market about the extent to which agencies are able to look beyond All of Government ECM suppliers for the most cost-effective and fit-for-purpose solutions for their organisation.” She says a growing number of government agencies are selecting the iWorkplace approach. “They tell us this is because of the much lower and more transparent pricing, the many credible reference sites and the control and flexibility the agency then has over its implementation.”

Sarah Heal

Stopbank guidelines a first for NZ In a move thought to be the first of its kind, Bay of Plenty Regional Council has published a Stopbank Design and Construction Guidelines document. The guidelines aim to help existing and potential stopbank owners who want to build, own or maintain reliable structures. The document includes advice on vital points to consider, from the planning stages to describing emergency flood barrier options. Stopbanks are currently the council’s number one river asset management solution. There are 352km of stopbanks in the Bay of Plenty. Surveys are undertaken every two to five

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years to check all stopbanks meet agreed levels of service. Bay of Plenty Regional Council also runs a river scheme sustainability project, which considers 100-year catchment-wide flood mitigation solutions and works to ensure flood protection is affordable and sustainable – environmentally and economically – in the long term. It also aims to raise awareness, and change attitudes and behaviour around sustainable land use in Bay of Plenty communities. The Stopbank Design and Construction Guidelines are available on

Wheels in motion A new section of Te Awa – Great New Zealand River Ride will take shape this year thanks to a $4.5 million funding partnership between Te Awa Trust, central government, Waikato District Council and the NZ Transport Agency. Construction started last month on the Horotiu to Ngaruawahia section which is expected to open to cyclists and pedestrians in November this year. The overall 70km long cycleway project is being built in sections from Ngaruawahia to Cambridge. It is one of 13 projects nationwide to receive funding through the central government’s Urban Cycling Fund. The Te Awa River Ride project began in 2010 with a goal to link the Waikato communities of Ngaruawahia, Horotiu, Hamilton, Tamahere and Cambridge by a riverside cycleway. Te Awa general manager Jennifer Palmer says the latest investment could include funds to build a bridge over the Waikato River, creating a new destination in the heart of Ngaruawahia. “Our goal was for Te Awa to promote health and wellbeing by being an easy, accessible and beautifully scenic cycleway, but we believe the economic benefits will be a game changer too,” she says. “On average, more than 6000 people a week use the other parts of the Te Awa River Ride already. Imagine the cycle tourism and commercial opportunities – bike hire, accommodation, cafes, tours and events – that could develop in and around Ngaruawahia as a result of this exciting project.” Waikato District mayor Allan Sanson says Waikato District Council saw the potential and value in Te Awa from the project’s inception. “Not only is Te Awa a great opportunity for economic development for the

whole of the Waikato district, but it’s also a great community project,” he says. “It’s also an example of what can be achieved for communities through collaboration. So much of that is down to the strong relationships we have with the NZTA and the Te Awa Trust.” Hamilton & Waikato Tourism chief executive Kiri Goulter says there is clear evidence from within the region and across the rest of the country that increased tourism activity is being experienced as a result of cycleways. “They have proven to be a catalyst for businesses development within local communities and the completion of Te Awa will not only highlight the region’s fantastic natural assets of the Waikato River but also attract more visitors and encourage a longer length of stay and spend in the Hamilton and Waikato region,” she says.

Cyclists, including Waikato local Mia Coventry (facing), enjoying the Horotiu section of Te Awa.



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EVENTS SOLGM’s Marlborough Colloquium

2 1. Jason Krupp (NZ Initiative). 2. Bruce Robertson (Office of the Auditor-General). 3. Ric Cullinane (NZ Walking Access Commission), Ian Brown (Civic Assurance) & Miles O’Connor (Bancorp Treasury Services). 4. Tony Quirk (Marlborough District Council). 5. Dame Beverley Wakeham (chief ombudsman).


6. Steven May (Grey District Council) & Ric Cullinane (NZ Walking Access Commission).




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Around the councils The Local Government Commission has issued a revised estimated transition cost for the proposed GREATER WELLINGTON COUNCIL. The estimated cost is now $210 million over four to five years. The payback period for the transition cost is now nine years. Previously, the commission was advised the transition cost would be $184 million with a payback period of eight years. The commission says the revised cost is due solely to the treatment of estimates for integrating all council IT systems and infrastructure. The commission had previously been advised there are significant challenges to accurately estimating council IT costs. Submissions on the draft proposal close on March 2. Around 400 submissions had already been received by February 12. NAPIER CITY COUNCIL, CENTRAL HAWKE’S BAY DISTRICT COUNCIL and WAIROA DISTRICT COUNCIL team up to provide information about amalgamation and why, according to them, it’s not the answer to a better Hawke’s Bay. They have dropped booklets into letterboxes giving their take on the arguments and issues at stake. View a copy of the booklet on:

Around 3000 Aucklanders have provided feedback in the first two weeks of public consultation on AUCKLAND COUNCIL’s Long-term Plan 2015-25. As of Friday February 5, council had received 2783 feedback forms plus a further 123 feedback posts through social media channels. Fifty two percent of respondents to date say they disagree with the proposed overall average general rates increase of 3.5 percent each year. This increase would enable the proposed investment and spending outlined in the Long-term Plan. A quarter of respondents so far say they support the idea of a “basic” transport network. Almost 60 percent say council should invest more “to get the Auckland Plan transport network that would address the city’s transport problems”. Public consultation on Auckland Council’s 10-year budget closes at 4pm on March 16.

Christchurch has a full complement of outdoor pools for the first time since before the 2011 earthquakes. A “Lyttelton Lives On” pool party marked the reopening of the Norman Kirk Memorial Pool last month. Work to rebuild the area’s only public swimming pool began in June last year and involved replacing the quake-damaged pool, changing rooms, office plant and equipment. All five of CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL’s outdoor pools are now back in action. Scarborough Paddling Pool was the first of the council’s outdoor pool rebuild / repair projects to open this summer and was shortly joined by Waltham Lido Pool. Jellie Park, Halswell and Templeton pools were undamaged in the earthquake. BAY OF PLENTY REGIONAL COUNCIL is having to dispose of a growing number of abandoned boats as the cost of maintaining a boat and paying mooring and servicing fees can often be more than both novice and experienced boaties understand or can afford. Regional harbour master Peter Buell says it’s a growing problem in all harbours. “In Auckland they would be dealing with about one abandoned vessel each week. The ratepayers end up picking up the costs, and they can be extensive.”





Dollars &


How should local government be funded? That’s the fundamental question behind a new LGNZ report that outlines some options for addressing current and likely future funding shortfalls in local government.


recent LGNZ Local Government Funding Review examines mechanisms that could sit alongside a property tax (rates) based funding system. Options suggested for discussion include local income tax, local expenditure tax, selective taxes, regional fuel taxes and transaction taxes. Local Government Magazine asked a selection of mayors around the country to share their views. This is what they had to say.


MAYOR JOHN CARTER FAR NORTH DISTRICT COUNCIL It’s important for everyone to understand the paper is a draft and there are elements of it that have to be expanded significantly. If it’s presented to central government in its current format it will become just another doorstop. There needs to be a philosophical debate with government on the fact that the amount of funding local government gets these days is less than we used to get 20 and 30 years ago. Until we can have that debate about local government’s share of the country’s economy – and unless the review paper is focused on that – we‘re not going to make good progress. The paper, to a large extent, will be irrelevant. The issue then comes to the sharper point as to whether there should be alternative ways of raising money. In my view, that debate is irrelevant because it doesn’t matter much whether you get it by rates or direct charges or taxation or some other form of levy. It still comes back down to the country’s ability to afford what we need. But don’t get me wrong. Where LGNZ is

You have until close of business on Friday March 27 to let LGNZ know your thoughts on its Local Government Funding

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now is hugely important and they’re doing an outstanding job. The leadership given by Lawrence Yule and Malcolm Alexander is outstanding. We’re in a completely different space to where we were five or 10 years ago. That’s why, now, the time is right for us to have this discussion. And that’s why it’s important we front up and government knows we’re going to do that. The better job that local government does, the better outcome for the country and – as a consequence – for the government.

Review discussion paper. LGNZ asks interested parties to feed back their ideas on the document to

MAYOR LEN BROWN AUCKLAND COUNCIL For Auckland Council, the funding review discussion paper is a significant piece of work. We were an active participant in the review – the process was chaired by councillor Penny Webster, the chair of our finance and performance committee. The report identifies a range of issues being experienced by local government in New Zealand, including the challenges facing Auckland. Like all councils around New Zealand, we’re trying to manage rates increases as well as debt servicing costs within prudent levels, while recognising that debt is an appropriate funding tool for long-term, intergenerational assets. Key concerns for Auckland are the cost of growth and the requirement for massive infrastructure investment to manage the impacts of that growth – particularly our transport infrastructure, which has been significantly underfunded for many years. We have included this issue in our 2015-2025 Long-term Plan – that we are facing $12 billion of unfunded transport infrastructure investment over the next 30 years. Housing developments and the infrastructure required to support new housing is also putting us under real pressure. We are trying

Download a copy of the Local Government Funding Review from

to find a balance between intensification of existing areas and greenfields development. This means retrofitting existing areas with better infrastructure, such as the $800 billion central interceptor, but also building roads and underground infrastructure for greenfields developments. The simple reality is that development contributions do not cover certain aspects of community infrastructure in the wake of changes to legislation. Auckland has an open mind about the best solutions for funding local government. In our own Long-term Plan consultation we are seeking our community’s views on how to address the funding gap and improve transport in Auckland. Aucklanders are being asked to indicate a preference between motorway user charges or a combination of rates and fuel tax increases. These options were developed by an independent group of Auckland stakeholders who were asked to consider the impact of potential alternative funding schemes, and to provide a consensus view and robust evidence-based advice on which funding options to include in the draft Long-term Plan.

For more coverage of the Funding Review discussion paper also see: • Victoria University's Peter McKinlay's column on page 38 of this issue. • CCNZ CE Malcolm Alexander’s comments on page 43. • LGNZ president Lawrence Yule’s column on page 44. • And the LGNZ section of this magazine starting on page 45.




FUNDING MAYOR ANDY WATSON RANGITIKEI DISTRICT COUNCIL It’s appropriate for the funding models for all local government to be reviewed: they’re historical in nature and don’t work well for any council. However, the consequences of this outdated funding model play out differently across the sector. As a large rural district with declining population, Rangitikei doesn’t have the economic development activity, and consequently a growing rating base, to help fund activities and infrastructure as experienced in other areas. The LGNZ Funding Review provides a national forum or platform for the issues we’re facing. By working together as a sector we can look at how councils with similar challenges are addressing them and learn from them. But as the discussion paper indicates, there is only so much we can do within the constraints of the current system, so change is warranted.

We have a very large land area – one of the largest in the country – but a low ratepayer base, with just over 14,000 residents. In some areas, particularly our larger towns, population is projected to decline by up to 40 percent over the next 30 years. The current and future demographic make-up of our district and associated income levels of residents means funding basic services, particularly roading and water, is more challenging. Yet, our communities are required to meet the same environmental, public health and other national standards as the rest of New Zealand, and our residents naturally aspire to similar standards of service as evident in other areas. In 2012 we made the decision to shift the funding of the 3 waters activity to a districtwide basis to ensure these services remained affordable for communities. This decision drew significant criticism from across the

district. Around 45 percent of our expenditure is dedicated to roading, with a third of rates dedicated to the 3 waters area. Looking ahead, our draft infrastructure strategy signals major water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure upgrades will be required in many of our towns over the next 10 years. What many other areas take for granted as ‘core services’, we have to treat as discretionary given our challenge in keeping rates affordable. Our council has yet to consider the discussion document, so we don’t yet have any firm views on which particular options may work best for us. However, we do know that the nature of our district means generating income from the likes of royalties from mining, and tolls for roading infrastructure, are not applicable for us. In the past, council has been successful in securing some Ministry of Health subsidies to

MAYOR DON CAMERON RUAPEHU DISTRICT COUNCIL The Funding Review discussion is very significant to Ruapehu District Council. Our falling population is funding extensive infrastructure. We have six towns, for example, with populations ranging from 3500 to 60 with significant water, wastewater, stormwater, roading and community facilities that were designed for far larger usual resident populations. Rapidly-increasing tourist numbers are creating a strain on these services but do not directly contribute to their upkeep. A tourist tax would be of real benefit to us. User pays is a theme of the document but, historically, this has been set aside by our district (as in most rural districts), apart from metered water for commercials and residences in Taumarunui. This will require a real mindshift by councillors. However, with the recent increase in rural valuations, but a drop in residential and commercial values in the district, farmers will be pushing very hard towards user pays. There are obvious social benefits for libraries, swimming pools etc but we will need to seriously consider who pays. Our biggest challenges are around funding of local roads (although we successfully argued for our FAR from

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NZTA to increase), and the 3 waters. Expectations around improvements of standards in all the waters as we move into applying for resource consents will be problematic as all plants will need upgrading. The total number of millions is uncertain until standards are quantified. But we are spending $5 million per year over 10 years. With transport we have 90 bridges that need renewing over the next 10 years at $11 million, plus maintenance of others at $7.5 million. The government has signalled there will be no new taxes – but a tourist tax for infrastructure use is warranted. Central and local government need to be planning the future of the waters in particular and co-funding changes that will keep us ahead as a first world country that acts to protect all citizens, visitors and the environment. I’m against local taxes as it would be very expensive to handle. The review is very timely and, apart from an ignorant rant from the Motel Association of New Zealand, has generally been well received by both central and local government, and even by Federated Farmers. There is now a conversation that will gather momentum over the next six months that will show ratepayers that they generally have had a very good deal for the rates they pay, but there are challenges in the next 20 to 30 years that need to be planned for and properly funded – and probably not just by ratepayers.

support critical upgrades to both water and wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, subsidies for wastewater stopped a number of years ago, and the final round for water subsidies finished last month. Prior to the election the government signalled there would be no continuation or reintroduction of this funding support, despite the Ministry of Health’s assessment that only about half of the water / wastewater upgrades that are needed have been funded. We are actively participating in LGNZ’s 3 waters project because we see that as a way of improving the efficiency of our 3 waters operations. But, just as importantly, we see the project as a vehicle for further demonstrating the need for national funding to ensure all water-related infrastructure meets accepted standards. Rangitikei has been highlighted as an

authority that is looking at changes and proposing local incentives to stimulate growth and development. We are looking at several strategies to ensure we are as efficient with rates money as we can be. This includes having multiple shared services arrangements with neighbouring authorities; co-locating council facilities, such as information centres, libraries and service centres in one venue where possible; and working with the principle of ‘fewer but better’ before we look at infrastructure upgrades to our leisure facilities. The question we always must ask is – do we need this facility or is there a better way of doing something? There is a need for Rangitikei to work closely with central government which has identified that our region has very high growth potential and as part of that we now have a Regional

Growth Study, which was co-funded with central government. Central government must also play its role in making sure critical infrastructure, such as roads and other transport systems are maintained, affordable and work in the best interests of our country.

MAYOR TONY KOKSHOORN GREY DISTRICT COUNCIL I have no problem with a review but we as councils need to make it clear that capital is needed for future infrastructure and not for increasing the size of councils’ bureaucracy. Our funding challenges centre around roading, stormwater and refuse. We are getting less government funding for roading, environmental improvements, and health and safety regulations – and costs are forever increasing.

New taxes will only rob Peter to pay Paul. Tourists should pay their fair share to local councils so that upgrades can be made for hygiene and quantity to visitor infrastructure. There is only so much that can be taxed. Rural councils need to be careful that longerterm funds are not channelled away to the big city metros at small town New Zealand’s expense. This is happening with road funds at present. LG





ON TRACK A group of local government geospatial experts is building a national dataset of our country’s walking and cycling tracks. Gill Lawrence explains what they’ve achieved so far and what they’ve learnt along the way.


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e want your tracks data!” was the cry that went out into geospatial inboxes up and down the country. A group of enthusiasts across several organisations on a collaborating mission had created a common data model and vocabulary, developed a proof of concept and were now requesting councils to peer deeply into their data file structures to find their tracks datasets and contribute them to make a national dataset of walking and cycling tracks. This project came about as an early initiative of the Local Government Geospatial Alliance (LGGA). (Also see the box story “What is the LGGA?”.) The LGGA was formed to bring together the local government geospatial sector. The instigators of the LGGA were aware that the New Zealand local government geospatial community is made up of lots of small voices. This fact makes it challenging to work together or to represent ourselves as one body and difficult and timeconsuming for other organisations to make contact with us (anyone keen for 70+ phone calls?). The LGGA came into being to enable collaboration not only with our council neighbours but with external agencies. The aim was to find ways to reuse work such as policies, standards, ideas, schemas and role descriptions as well as to link, share and communicate. The walking and cycling tracks project was created as one opportunity to collaborate to achieve a national dataset. It was initiated with a steering group meeting in August 2013 with

representatives from four councils – Canterbury Regional Council, Nelson City, Napier City and Waikato Regional Council – as well as staff from Land Information NZ (including the NZ Geospatial Office), Department of Conservation and the NZ Walking Access Commission (NZWAC). From the first meeting, it was obvious that there was enthusiasm and support for the initiative. This meeting sought to understand one another’s statutory obligations, what tracks data was already held in each organisation and covered a broad discussion of what we wanted to achieve. NZWAC was willing to provide the project team leader and Land Information NZ (LINZ) was willing to provide resourcing to collate data and provide an upload facility. Key to the project’s success was that the idea was then put into a project management framework (see “Lessons learned” box story). And so the work began. The project team was set up and started to work out how to collaborate – to grapple with understanding each other’s terminology, gradually working towards a proposed table structure, guidelines for presentation, geometries, symbology and storage. Working together when team members are geographically spread with constrained travel budgets is a challenge. The team found ways around this. Members became adept at meeting virtually using Lync, with one team member masterminding pulling us in from the ether. When a face-to-face workshop was






WHAT IS THE LGGA? The Local Government Geospatial Alliance (LGGA) was set up by a group of like-minded geospatial people from local authorities to share ideas. It aims to: • identify and promote opportunities for more effective and efficient service delivery through the use of geospatial data; • be the geospatial representatives with central government; • actively support, influence, advise and be involved in the development of geospatial projects; and • be a central point of contact for external agencies. The LGGA is made up of representatives from each region of New Zealand, with a mixture of regional, city, unitary and district councils amongst the team. Team members meet frequently through the year using both video conferences and face-to-face meetings. Projects so far include the walking and cycling tracks, the scanning of historic imagery with LINZ, addressing and consents. More details on the LGGA blog:

WE WANT YOUR DATA The Local Government Geospatial Alliance (LGGA) sent out requests to councils and other organisations – particularly the Department of Conservation – for their tracks data. It’s not too late to send yours. Here are some details of what we are looking for: • Open data of walking and cycling tracks (ie, data that can be released and re-released by a third party without financial or any other payment and with limited restrictions). • Our preferred option is to map your data into the tracks data model. Check out the guide and tools on this site, then send to Brent Robertson • If you can’t do that, simply extract your tracks data from your database (in a common geo data format, shape, geodatabase, KML file, map info, etc) and send it through to Brent. • Don’t forget the description / metadata and specs you use to manage this data as well. • Brent can provide an FTP drop point – or equivalent – if you need it. • If your data is in web download or web services – eg, web feature service [WFS] – provide the details to Brent.

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required to develop the data framework and guidelines, NZWAC recognised the value in assisting a council that was unable to find the budget for a team member to travel to Wellington for the meeting. This showed the practical working together towards a common end that was typical of the project. There were many actions that showed the strength of working together, to understand where each organisation was coming from, yet finding solutions that were practical and fit for purpose for all. One example was that early on the team agreed on several fundamental matters that were essential to achieving the final goal: LINZ would host the dataset on the LINZ Data Service (LDS) ( w w w. l i n z . g o v t . n z / d a t a / l i n z - d a t a service), the ownership of the master dataset would sit with the LGGA and the dataset would be an Open Data dataset with creative commons licensing. The project team also agreed that while a ‘gold’ standard of aggregated data would be a nice to have, in fact ‘fit for purpose’ was the best solution to progress the project at this early stage. The working group also looked for a simple method of uploading data so that it is consistent and updateable, meaningful, useful and attractive for re-users, the public and other organisations. There were challenges that future

national dataset collaboration projects will also face. The most difficult is getting the data from the other organisations. But note: it’s not too late if you haven’t sent data and you know your council has some. (See the box story “We want your data” for instructions and blog details.) The dataset now exists in a draft form and is available from the LDS. In early February the dataset contained around 25,000 kilometres of tracks information. Since the data was put up on the LDS there have been 178 downloads of the tracks data and over 1400 views. NZWAC also features the tracks on its website ( kia-ora-welcome/). The draft dataset is proof of a successful collaboration of parties who had a somewhat difficult assignment due to the challenge of a call to action to so many parties. It proved that with enthusiasm, initial boundary and goal setting, willingness and a commitment to the project plan and its actions list, successful collaboration can be achieved. LG • Gill Lawrence is spatial information manager, Science and Strategy Directorate, Waikato Regional Council. She acknowledges the assistance of the Walking and Cycling Tracks Project Team and the Local Government Geospatial Alliance in writing this article.

LESSONS LEARNED The project team reviewed the project to glean a set of lessons learned so that other collaboration projects for the LGGA – or any organisation undertaking the creation of a national dataset – would know what worked well and what to avoid another time. Highlights from those lessons learned are: • It is important to get the right people and organisations to initiate and discuss the project. • Project management methodology works well. • Have a well defined description of the goals of the project that can be communicated clearly early in the project. • Have a clear idea of what is included and what is not. • Deliverables need to be tangible and realistic. • Understand what types of skills are required for the project. • Consider online meetings: they enabled us to hold meetings more frequently, and removed the barrier of both cost and time wasted in travel. • Communicate through multiple channels, in multiple formats. • Check whether or not emails are the most effective way of communicating. In some instances calling an online meeting may resolve issues more effectively.

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STEVE PARRY On making every minute count Gore District Council’s Steve Parry is one of a handful of chief executives who have been a mayor in a past life. He talks with Ruth Le Pla about that vital relationship, why CEs need to take a long view and the importance of lifelong learning.

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teve Parry is no slouch. I’m not even sure he knows the term to ‘blob out’. When we get together to talk, it’s the only phrase he doublechecks with me. And when I helpfully explain that some people, I hear, have been known to spend their downtime watching Coronation Street and eating chocolate biscuits he looks slightly horrified as though... well, I’m not sure what would be worse in Steve’s mind because this law-studying, bandplaying, canary-breeding chief executive leads a high-octane life down in Gore. That’s when he’s not being highoctane at Gore District Council itself, of course. Or when he’s not charging back and forth to the United States to represent Australasia at the Washington, DC-based International City / County Management Association (ICMA). The group represents almost 9000 mainly American local government management experts. So it’s perhaps a feather in Steve’s cap that ICMA broke its usual pattern to hold a summit in Wellington recently. I’d imagine it’s not exactly all calm and tranquillity at the Parry abode either. He’s patriarch to a brood of seven offspring ranging in age from 10 to 31. Fair enough that the older ones have flown the nest. But at least one of the boys sounds like a chip off the old Parry block. “He’s a singer-songwriter,” says Steve, “holds down a regular gig in one of the bars in Dunedin, got a music degree and is now in dental school.” Steve tells me this while we’re sitting on the Dunedin Town Hall stage. This is where his own band The Pill played at a SOLGM conference after-dinner-bash back in 2004. This medico-theme, he reckons, must

be some kind of subconscious family trait. “My Uncle Chris played in The Formula and later managed The Cure,” he says. “Somehow, the name The Pill just came into my head.” By all accounts, The Pill was a pretty popular band in that part of the world. Which must have been gratifying for a guy whose grand plan when he left school was to play drums in a worldfamous rock band and retire at 30. “To be honest,” he says, “I left school with no ambitions professionally. I was just a long-haired lout with a pierced ear and a shark tooth. I was just doing a day job while my rock and roll dreams would start to come to life.”

STUDY AS YOU GO Instead, Steve found himself married young. By the time he was 21 he had two children and the big plan got a bit of a shake-up. That’s probably why he’s lived his life a tad upside down in some respects, he says, with the young parent bit coming first and learning to fit in study later on. All power to him, then, that he’s been studying part-time now for some 15 years. He’s got a Graduate Diploma in Business Studies from Massey University and has three papers to go before he’s finished his Bachelor of Laws with Honours at Otago University. Not surprisingly, he says it’s been a hard slog along the way. “It would have been far easier to do by more conventional means. But then again as an older student you get the benefit of life experience.” Steve suspects some of his drive may stem from one early nugget of life experience when, at school, he didn’t take up chances to develop his promise as a runner.





BEING STEVE PARRY Chief Executive, Gore District Council Sept 2001 – present Mayor, Waitomo District Council 1998 – 2001 Industries and Inmate Employment Manager, Waikeria Prison, Department of Corrections 1997 – 2001

Manager for Mataura, Gore District Council 1990 – 1993 District Property Manager, Telecom 1987 – 1990

Community Facilities and Development Manager, Waitomo District Council 1993 – 1997 Other roles & education • Past-President, SOLGM • Land Purchase Officer, Ministry of Works, (Invercargill) • Work in Post Office Headquarters’ Property Division • Studied part-time for about 15 years • Graduate Diploma in Business Studies, Massey University • Three papers to complete for a Bachelor of Laws with Honours from Otago University

“Later I regretted it,” he says, “so – since then – when opportunities come up I’ve tried to maximise them.” He must have got this off pat by 1998 when, working as Waikeria Prison’s firstever industries and inmate employment manager, he took the plunge to stand as mayor of Waitomo District Council and then held down both roles for a further three years.

BEST ADVICE This makes Steve one of the few local government chief executives who have also served as a mayor and gives him a distinctly well-rounded view of the important interface between these two roles. Before he became mayor, for example, he says he used to wonder why concepts such as best practice didn’t really seem to resonate with elected council members. Then, as mayor, his focus shifted and he realised most ratepayers aren’t interested in processes. A mayor’s role is about doing what the people want them to do. “I think I can now give advice

as chief executive with the benefit of that experience – albeit it was a long time ago.” He sees it as his job as CE to not only advise but also try to help council reach a common decision. “Because a council that can’t reach a position or gets horribly divided is a very unhappy – and usually pretty ineffective – one.” During his early career as CE he used to double-check he wasn’t overstepping the mark. “I’d say, ‘am I pushing too hard in giving you advice?’ And they’d say, ‘no, actually that’s good. We want you to keep doing that.’ “I think I’ve found that happy balance between allowing debate to continue for council to find its own solution and also to respectfully offer up, perhaps, a way forward when the debate is getting into some sense of deadlock. “People won’t die wondering what I think. I always tell my staff, ‘we don’t say “your call”. We give the best professional advice.’ And hopefully, that, at least provides a starting point for informed debate.”

THE SIZE OF IT Gore District Council: about 70 full-time staff and some 35 part-timers. Population: around 12,400.

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Ratepayers: about 6300. What Steve Parry really likes about Gore: a city life experience in a rural setting.

Like many local authorities, Gore District Council has had plenty to debate. It faces challenging decisions around the quality and quantity of its water supply. The 3 waters discussion is gaining significance in the light of the need to produce 30-year infrastructure plans. And the current appeal of concrete driveways and courtyards – instead of garden – is putting pressure on stormwater systems and could put a brake on development in some of the most popular parts of Gore. Steve says he’s proud of the part he’s been able to play in helping transform both the town and the council during his 13 years as chief executive. “When I first came here Gore was considered to be a bit of a no-go zone, to be frank. “The town is really starting to change... it’s a public transformation in terms of arts and heritage. It’s no longer considered to be the hoon town for country hicks. It’s more about sophistication. And this is bringing people from far afield to our town.” He’s also proud that Gore District Council is perceived as being a stable “pretty efficient, tidy unit” with good relationships between staff and elected members. “That’s a far cry from what it used to be,” he says, recalling someone on hearing he’d been appointed as its new chief executive, holding his hand and saying, ‘Do you know what you’re doing? That council is riven with division. You’re making a backwards step.’” That was the case, he acknowledges, back in the ’90s and into the first part of the new millennium. “So we’ve gone a long way from there. Initially, it was tough. There were a lot of changes to be made. But in the past six or seven years the reforms that we introduced at the start – plus the strong sense of political and managerial cohesion and the values we put in place – have brought about a stability and consistency that make it easy to attract staff.” People, he says, want to be able to make a difference.

DOING THE BIZZO How has he learnt to stay on top of the big-picture issues while simultaneously managing the millions of tiny details expected of a CE? He packs it all in by keeping a very keen eye on timewasting activities and focusing on two

main fronts. One is an all-out attack on meetings for meetings’ sake, for which he confesses a “pathological hatred”. “My sister has a lovely saying,” he says. “Meetings are where minutes are taken and hours are lost... And in local government we meet to death.” He’s long since biffed the regular senior management meetings. For years now the team has met on an as-required basis. He much prefers a more casual – and for him productive – approach blending an open-door policy with “doing the bizzo” in spontaneous small chats in the tearoom and council corridors. “That keeps things moving and I keep myself free for issues,” he says. He does, however, meet with his second- and third-tier managers every six weeks, giving them all a chance to hear what the others are doing. His distaste for meetings aside, he places a lot of emphasis on developing staff and every nine months for the past 10 or so years has held off-site training half days for the executive team and

IN FOR THE LONG HAUL To Steve Parry, short-term popularity is a mug’s game. He’s been chief executive of Gore District Council since 2001 and tells younger CEs not to be tempted by quick fixes. “It won’t work. You’ve got to do what’s right and to do that sometimes you will be unpopular. But if you stand the test of time you’ll get the recognition that you deserve and people will see that what you were advocating did make sense.” It’s on that basis, he says, that he doesn’t have a lot of time for what he calls trophy hunters – those senior managers

second- and third-tier managers. Secondly, he points out how easy it is to waste time at home watching rubbish on TV. He seems a bit bemused by other people’s blow-by-blow accounts of the latest TV serials and says that when he’s not being with his family, studying law for up to 20 hours a week, playing drums, or breeding and showing canaries, he might just read something

who specialise in two- or three-year stints, stirring up the waters, making a pile of changes and taking off before the results can be seen. “It behoves us to stay longer than that and see the changes through. If you’ve made some big calls you need to stand by what you’ve done... “We chief executives can have quite a bit of influence and we should use it wisely and judiciously for the benefit of the community we serve: not to pad out a CV and put some points of reference on it.”

light for leisure or listen to music. And anyway, he says, he does chill. “My chill is good friends, a beer or two, watching the footy.” Still, I guess no-one’s perfect. Steve would be useless at talking about Coronation Street and poor Tyrone’s having a terrible time at the moment. Right. Now, where are those chocolate biscuits? LG






GOOD WORK Local government's fantastic EAs & PAs


o many senior people in local government have told us how much they rely on the all-round wonderfulness of their executive and personal assistants that we were keen to learn more. We put out a call to hear about those helpers who pile through the work, keep those around them grounded and save their bacon. Here are some of the best accolades we received.

NATASHA BREEN Horowhenua District Council Natasha is self-motivated, hardworking and intelligent. She is organised and integral to the success of my team. The support that she provides me and the team is invaluable. I trust Natasha. I’m very comfortable around her and can rely on her to deliver especially when we are under pressure. She is customer-focused and an excellent team member. From the first day I started working with Natasha I saw in her a willing partner: someone I can run to when in trouble, lost or when I want an honest opinion and so far she has not let me down. She has provided me with the environment and the comfort zone that allows me to perform and accomplish my tasks. Gallo Saidy, group manager – infrastructure services.

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LISA D’SOUZA Thames-Coromandel District Council I often say that Lisa D’Souza is the chief executive at ThamesCoromandel District Council (TCDC). It’s a joke but anyone with an excellent PA like Lisa will know that I’m not too far off the mark. Things that bring me to a bumbling mess like juggling meetings, invites, times, flights, she relishes with delight and ease. I ask her sometimes if she actually likes that stuff. She does – to her it’s problem-solving. Lisa’s insights into the people, problems and issues that flow past the door or arrive in emails are an integral part of my wider advice team. Lisa runs the TCDC ‘Culture Club’ cross-organisation team who bring fun, activities, recognition events and our values through the life of the organisation. An ingredient to her excellence is also taking a personal commitment to growing a great organisation that she and we want to work in. David Hammond, chief executive.

SALLY FLINTOFF New Plymouth District Council I wouldn’t be on time anywhere without my executive assistant Sally Flintoff. She’s my additional brain and organiser who keeps me up to speed with who I’m meeting, where I’m meant to be and what I need to take with me – I’d be turning around in circles without her. She also makes sure I eat, bless her – but best of all, Sally laughs at my jokes. Mayor Andrew Judd.

DIANE MAITLAND Westland District Council If there is one skill that Diane Maitland has in abundance it’s the ability to read minds, says Tanya Winter, chief executive of Westland District Council. Tanya has worked with Diane for just over two years and describes her as having “a fabulous knack of anticipating my every need”. Diane is executive assistant and provides direct support not only to Tanya, but the whole executive team, and the mayor and councillors. “You would not believe Diane’s position description,” says Tanya. “While her title is executive assistant, Diane (or Di as she is fondly called by many) also provides democratic support, administers the HR function, and manages the council website, amongst many, many other responsibilities.” Di started work for Westland County Council just out of school in April 1983. She lived through the amalgamation in 1989 and has worked at the district council ever since. She has supported three chief executives and four mayors in her time. Tanya says her knowledge of the organisation and the district is invaluable. “Moving to a new district is both exciting and challenging. Having Di supporting me was like having my own Westland Encyclopaedia Britannica. She knows everything and everyone.” Tanya admits to feeling a bit nervous when she first started at Westland and learnt that Di had been there for almost 30 years. “There were moments before I arrived when I wondered if we would get along, and whether she would like me. It is really important to me to have a good rapport with my EA.” Tanya was pleasantly surprised. “I have made

a lot of change in the past two years, and I have been amazed at not only how receptive Di was to that, but also how many good ideas were lurking inside her, just waiting to get out.” Tanya believes the secret to her and Di’s good relationship is honesty, good coffee and having a laugh. “No matter how busy we get, we have a ritual on a Friday morning. We take ourselves out of the office, to our favourite café, and we have a coffee and share a scone. We debrief on the week gone, and look ahead to what is coming up. I look forward to that time every week.” The test of their relationship came when Di took a long break over Christmas. “I nearly phoned her and asked her to come in for a coffee with me. Funnily enough when Di came back I learnt that she’d thought about ringing me too.”

WENDY THOM PSON-COLE Auckland Council My PA Wendy Thompson-Cole is a real gem. She has a thoroughly professional approach and works diligently to ensure that my role leading a very large planning department is as easy as possible. Wendy stays calm under pressure and makes sure my complex diary runs smoothly. It is not unusual for Wendy to have to deal with competing requests for my time – from politicians, external customers or other parts of the wider council family. She juggles my diary to ensure priorities are dealt with first and does so in a manner which is polite but firm. She has a real passion for sharing her skills and the tools she uses with other PAs across council and I often get really positive comments on how helpful this informal coaching is. We work well together as a team. She’s a top PA. Penny Pirrit, general manager, plans and places, Chief Planning Office. LG






HELPING OUT This year’s Civil Defence Emergency Management Awards celebrate those who front up in times of need.


ince 2009, the Ministerial Awards for Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) have honoured and raised awareness of emergency management throughout the country. Open to both individuals and organisations, gold awards are presented for outstanding contributions and silver for significant contributions to civil defence emergency management in New Zealand. This year silver ministerial awards are presented to: •L iz Brooker, community volunteer, Ruapehu District; • Phil Parker, Waikato CDEM Group; • Langley Cavers, Waikato CDEM Group; and • the Northland CDEM Group.

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LIZ BROOKER Liz Brooker stepped up to help when her community of Raetihi was affected by a serious drinking water contamination in October 2013. Prior to the emergency, Liz had not been involved in civil defence emergency management activities. With the support of the local incident management team, she stepped up during the emergency to use her social media skills. Liz set up a highly effective and efficient social media communications system that attracted individuals in the community, many of whom would normally be difficult to contact. Liz’s social media approach was an exemplary use of new technology and demonstrated an extraordinary response effort on her part. During all this, Liz was also affected by the water crisis and did not have telephone or internet access at her home. Within the first day a social media site had been established with some 316 followers, reflecting a significant impact considering there are only 342 households in Raetihi. Within the first week there was high engagement, including over 600 comments, 450 shares of posts and almost 3500 likes. Through the site’s 620 followers, it was calculated information from the site reached 35,520 people in the first week. The ability to answer questions, display photographs and videos, and share information was important to the community. Some of the material provided through this network was also shown on TVNZ and other national media. As a result of Liz’s proactive positive approach and dedication to her community, she became a ‘go-to person’ in the community for information. This award recognises that Liz went above and beyond during the water crisis for the sake of her community.

PHIL PARKER Phil Parker’s sustained and professional contribution to civil defence emergency management and his community wins him this award. Phil has been a passionate advocate and practitioner of CDEM for over 29 years at a local, regional and national level. He has played a prominent role in two statutory declarations in 2009, when Waihi village was evacuated and when over 700 travellers stranded on the Napier / Taupo Highway were rescued and provided for over a four day period. Phil was also the primary local CDEM contact for other events such as eruptions at Ruapehu and Tongariro and the Ruapehu lahar, leading to assistance in establishing the Eastern Ruapehu Lahar Alarm and Warning System (ERLAWS) on Mt Ruapehu. Phil is recognised by his colleagues across CDEM groups as a source of tremendous knowledge and experience. When it comes to community application of CDEM and supporting initiatives, his work is an enduring success. The group controller and manager in particular has found Phil to be an excellent test for ideas. Never one to hold back his views, Phil is a very solutions-focused member of the team. His level of community engagement and council support for CDEM in Taupo is the level to which all group members should aspire. Of note are Phil’s efforts in establishing the various Safe Kids Expos for the whole of the Taupo District 7-10 yearold age group and his Local Neighbourhood Series expos. In addition to his CDEM role, Phil also formed NZ Response Team 6. Phil has been team leader, qualified instructor and manager for the team from 1986 until the present time. During this time the response team won several first places in northern zone rescue competitions and third place in national competitions. Phil won several team leader trophies and awards. Without Phil’s contribution, the role and profile of CDEM in the Taupo District community would not be anywhere near the level it is now. He has made an outstanding contribution to his district over a sustained and long period and for that he can be justifiably proud.




EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT NORTHLAND CIVIL DEFENCE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT GROUP This award is in recognition of the tireless effort of the many staff and volunteers that made up the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group during a series of three storm events in July 2014. As well as community leaders and volunteers, the group comprises emergency services, local authorities, the Welfare Advisory Group and Lifeline Utility Group members and agencies involved in recovery, including the Northland Rural Support Trust. On the night of July 8-9, 2014, communities in Northland were hit with 180 kilometre per hour winds and up to 150mm of rain. Power outages affected some 30,000 consumers, and widespread telecommunications outages affected communities as well. Although most services were restored within 48 hours, some isolated areas were without power for over a week. A second storm event starting overnight on July 12-13 saw further heavy rain and extensive flooding. Rainfall totals for four days reached 524mm in one area – 140 percent of average annual rainfall. Sadly this event resulted in one fatality. In another part of Northland, emergency services successfully rescued three stranded travellers. The final storm in this sequence hit the region on July 19 and again resulted in widespread flooding and evacuations. CDEM group staff and volunteers yet again came to the aid of stricken communities through well-coordinated and practised civil defence emergency management arrangements. The response to communities across these three events was of the highest standard. The Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group as a collective is well-recognised throughout New Zealand as being well-prepared. The efforts put into developing community-level plans, cross‑agency coordination plans, and response and recovery arrangements have had positive results yet again for the region.

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LANGLEY CAVERS Langley Cavers has made a significant contribution to enhancing the Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group. In 2009 the group was assessed by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. The report from that assessment highlighted significant gaps in the capability of the group. On behalf of the Waikato local government chief executives, Langley volunteered to take on the role of coordinating executive group chair to address the issues raised in the report. Of note, were the culture and leadership issues that the group faced. Using a systematic and personable approach, Langley reinvigorated the coordinating executive group membership and re-educated those members on their roles. His quiet but consistent leadership built an executive team which quickly adjusted to the new direction and expectations of their membership. Greater responsibility was placed on coordinating executive group members. Langley was supported in this by his fellow chief executives through his relationship management. Langley also demonstrated his leadership through establishing a relationship with the regional council and this facilitated the resolution of long-term outstanding issues. It was also vitally important for Langley to engage the joint committee in assuming its leadership role for Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management. His factual business cases, as well as his personal credibility, were key factors in gaining the confidence of the joint committee and supporting them to make decisions which would move the group forward. Under Langley’s guidance the structures and results within the Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management Group have gone from strength to strength. The group emergency management office has increased in capacity. Careful selection of senior staff has allowed for significant improvement to be made. The group now has a highly functioning group management office which is contributing to national initiatives, strong local capability, excellent understanding and ownership of roles and responsibilities. There is a strong group-wide commitment to ensuring that civil defence emergency management is part of business as usual. Langley has achieved all of this whilst also undertaking his role as the chief executive officer of the Hauraki District Council and participating in other Waikato region collaborative entities. LG


WHEN THE CLOUD BURSTS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN UMBRELLA Kestrel’s Karen Stephens shares some practical suggestions.


he exponential rise of organisations using the cloud to facilitate their IT capability and data availability raises questions around how much due diligence has been carried out before trusting data to the myriad of third parties offering the service. The Cloud Security Alliance is a US-based organisation promoting the use of best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing. It notes that the top nine threats of cloud computing are: • Data breaches; • Data loss; • Account or service traffic hijacking; • Insecure Application Programme Interfaces; • Denial of service; • Malicious insiders; • Abuse of cloud services; • Insufficient due diligence; and • Shared technology. The cloud is an attractive option to many as it provides the ability to have dispersed staff with access to data without the need for local hardware and LAN / WAN connectivity. It brings the added advantage of reducing the amount of hardware and maintenance required for data storage. From a business continuity point of view, the risk of data loss from either technology failure or physical damage is reduced significantly as long as staff have access through internet connectivity from other locations. But the risks increase with regard to the reliance on third parties and exposure to cyber attack. There are critical issues which need to be considered and acted upon to ensure availability and integrity of your data. The reason why availability of data is so high is because there are lots of copies of your data to make sure it is always available. Those copies are out of your control – and this has a direct bearing on integrity and security. Harvey Betan (Risk Masters Inc USA) in his article “Beyond the silver lining” provides some guidance on what organisations should consider: • Due diligence – make sure it is the vendor of your choice, meet them, view their premises, ask the necessary questions.

•D ata transmission – your transmission link is now a point of failure, make sure there are alternates and capacity for increased traffic, how will data be encrypted, who has the key? • Ensure your data will reside where you expect it to and will not be moved –are there legal implications if data is stored offshore, will the vendor advise you if they decide to move the data? • Are there any intellectual property issues? • What happens if you change vendors – how do you receive your data upon termination of contract (by either side), how quickly will it be provided, what happens if either party merges with another? • View the vendor’s continuity plans, including supply chain – ensure they have the necessary ‘tested’ plans and procedures to guarantee that not only is your data protected but also your ability to access that data. • Prepare a detailed service level agreement with appropriate penalties – based on your expected data recovery times. There are now almost daily examples in New Zealand where data breaches have occurred resulting in loss of privacy or information. The Insurance Council of New Zealand warned in 2014 that New Zealand organisations need to be better prepared for cyber threats, citing the hacking of NIWA’s supercomputer as a reminder that New Zealand is not immune to the increasing global threat of cyber-crime. There is nothing wrong with cloud computing and there are many good cloud providers. Just remember you are outsourcing your data to what is potentially an unknown data centre and this results in some increased security risks that must be understood and addressed. Ultimately organisations need to prepare for the impacts of data loss and cyber crime through good planning and testing of their crisis response to such an event. LG • Karen Stephens is a crisis management and business continuity specialist at Kestrel Group.





GOING New Plymouth District Council is preparing for a mobile-first world


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arlier this year, New Plymouth District Council passed an important milestone in its strategy to fully digitise its information and mobilise its workforce when it implemented a new enterprise content management (ECM) solution. The new TechnologyOne solution will provide easier access to information from any device and faster, more informed, decision-making. New Plymouth District Council (NPDC) ICT manager Kevin Glynn says the council’s customers are demanding more services are delivered online. “They want these services when they want them, and increasingly we are seeing more of our employees working mainly from laptops and small-formfactor mobile devices. “This means there is always the technical challenge of ensuring that the system is stable, fast and responsive,” he says. “Users want it to be easy to use and with little complexity. So we really needed to implement a system that would allow us to readily embrace these new technologies.” Many organisations, including councils, are experiencing considerable costs associated with an employee’s inability to find information when needed. A June 2014 IDC study showed knowledge workers were spending 16 percent of their time searching for



information, and a further 10 percent consolidating and analysing information from one or more sources: adding up to 10 hours per worker per week. These inefficiencies are caused by workers needing to access increased amounts of information stored across multiple sources, and by the use of cumbersome filing systems built for paper storage which do not support mobile devices and offer poor search capabilities. Such legacy content management systems typically only allow documents to be filed in the same way as a physical document – in a ‘one file / one folder’ structure – preventing a file or document from being easily tagged for different business contexts. TechnologyOne executive chairman Adrian Di Marco says that in order to remain relevant, these legacy systems have tried to move forward into the digital world using the old model, without adapting to the pace and innovation of technological change. “They tend to be locked in to a single platform such as Microsoft, limiting the ability to access, edit and capture information on alternate systems such as Apple and Android. This dependency also restricts the ability to adapt to new technology as it becomes available.” To further complicate matters, there has also been an explosion in the types

of information councils need to capture, from traditional letters and emails to social media posts, photos, audio, videos and more. Consumers demand information faster and expect to have ease of access. The widespread uptake of smart mobile devices and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies has meant workers need to access and share documents from various devices at home, in the office and on the move – and often outside normal working hours.

BIT BY BIT NPDC was an early adopter of TechnologyOne’s latest ECM release and took an iterative approach to the implementation. It developed a close working relationship with TechnologyOne’s R&D team to ensure the solution met council’s specific business outcomes. A key deliverable was the migration of all 1.6 million records from council’s previous document management system to TechnologyOne ECM. Being device-independent, ECM is able to capture information from any authoring tool including MS Office, Lotus Notes or Google Docs. “The ECM extends council’s enterprise platform, removing unnecessary constraint and cost through integration,

1. New Plymouth District Council ICT manager Kevin Glynn. 2. Mount Taranaki, New Plymouth. 3. TechnologyOne executive chairman Adrian Di Marco.






and vastly improves our enterprise user experience,” says Kevin. “It provides the council and its staff with one place to store and search for information – from any smart mobile device or traditional PC or laptop.”

THE HOW NPDC implemented TechnologyOne ECM using the software company’s Ci Anywhere platform, which embraces a range of familiar consumer computing concepts – such as touch gestures, integration with device cameras and location services, intuitive design and instant access – to deliver an enterprise software application that is easy to use. Ci Anywhere is highly scalable and operates both onpremise and in the cloud. The same functionality adapts to run on council’s traditional laptops and PCs, and smart mobile devices from phones to tablets. NPDC project manager Boon Chua says because Ci Anywhere is device-independent, council no longer has any client software to install, “which is a great improvement on the previous system”. “It also gives us the opportunity to review the subject index, which users had huge issues with due to the old system’s file classification. Now that ECM is in place, we expect to drive full adoption of ECM by the business, which wasn’t the case with our previous solution.”

MOVING AHEAD Before implementing the new ECM solution, NPDC was already using several TechnologyOne software products

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and has implemented ECM as part of the company’s fully integrated enterprise solution for local government OneCouncil. TechnologyOne’s Adrian says OneCouncil was developed in collaboration with more than 250 local authorities across Australia and New Zealand. “It is specifically designed to support a customer-centred culture and continuous performance improvement – both fundamental goals of the current government and local government in New Zealand. “In addition to document management, OneCouncil comprises a full enterprise product suite including financials, asset management, human resource and payroll, as well as property and rating,” says Adrian. NPDC’s Kevin says the single solution approach also has many benefits for council IT teams. “The great advantage of having all products from a single enterprise provider is seamless integration, and having a single point of accountability and ownership rather than us having to manage multiple vendors,” he says. Adrian says his company’s next-generation software will enable NPDC to future-proof its business and prepare for a cloud-first, mobile-first world. “As well as benefiting from the power of a single, integrated enterprise solution, NPDC has bought into a solution which adapts and evolves, positioning them well to harness the full value of smart mobile devices and other emerging technologies in future.”

RATEPAYERS Modern content management systems built specifically for the digital age and supporting the use of smart mobile devices allow for centralised document capture from anywhere, anytime. With immediate and easy access to all the right information, organisations will make more informed decisions without spending hours finding the information they need. A system that offers both native smart mobile device and traditional PC and laptop capabilities provides a convenient and familiar user experience, allowing employees to easily use and capture information at the source. As we experience the power and simplicity of search engines such as Google and software such as apps in our personal lives, this so-called ‘consumerisation of IT’ sees the expectation that the same power and simplicity will also be available in the workplace. A powerful content management system that is built for the latest technology can achieve this by supporting multiple taxonomies and broad search capabilities, from a simple user interface. “The world is changing and moving quickly towards digital-first and mobile-first solutions. When councils and other organisations embrace these technologies, they will reduce inefficiencies by simplifying their IT and being able to focus on their core business. That’s got to be good news for ratepayers,” says Adrian. LG

BY THE NUMBERS New Plymouth District Council’s digital transformation:


35,000 ratepayers.

Expected number of years for NPDC to complete its digital transformation.




Council staff.

and growing. Number of mobile devices in use by council staff.




Number of council documents transferred to the new TechnologyOne ECM solution; this is expected to grow significantly as paper-based files are digitised.

Anticipated savings from NPDC’s digital transformation throughout its 10 year long-term plan.

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DELIVERY 1 x complex concept How to use visual thinking to refine complex ideas and get clarity. Warning: it can be fun too. Jeanette Bremner explains.

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s a designer, my thinking is clearer when I get a complex idea out onto paper and visually engage with it. When talking with others about this concept there is something concrete to discuss and when we are all visually interacting with the concept it gets exciting. So why do interactive visual conversations make a difference and help you come up with a good solution? Being interactive creates enthusiasm by allowing the visual, tactile and kinaesthetic

thinkers amongst the team to get involved in a way that enhances their best ideas, helps them follow the conversation accurately and keeps them engaged. Going visual unlocks your biggest resource. It allows the use of over 80 percent of the team’s cerebral cortex processing power. The whole team can see the discussion quite literally. It can help minimise verbal misunderstandings and inaccurate perceptions.

It gives the less vocal team members a way to contribute their often well considered and insightful ideas that would not have necessarily surfaced in discussion only. Working interactively slows down the thinking process and allows incubation time to gain a better quality outcome.

STARTING POINT I encourage you to consider thinking like a designer as you begin refining the idea. As designers, we initially focus on the outcome via the client brief. We get interactive with the concept by drawing, making models and moving things about on paper. We discuss the concept by scribbling and drawing our ideas so that others can see what we are thinking.

CONCEPT TO BRIEF Start by putting flip chart paper up on the wall (using flip chart markers or your wall will give you a permanent reminder of your work) or use a whiteboard that can be left for several days while you process. Grab sticky notes and give them to each team member. Make sure there are various coloured pens, highlighters and ‘white out’ accessible for the team to grab when needed. Next: Draw three segments on the page (or use three pages) and label these as follows: • Not negotiable – The ‘must have’ items for this idea in order to deliver the outcome. • Negotiable – The items people are willing to give up if need be.

• Not important – Items not considered absolutely necessary. Ask your team to write down on their sticky notes key items for all three categories making sure they understand they have the freedom to say what they think without judgement. Criticism of any type tends to stymie the design ideation process. Give the team time to consider what is up on the page. Stand back and look at it as a whole picture. Is anything missing? If you are working with team leaders or clients you may need to send them back to their teams to go through this process so you get a good depth of buy-in and a more defined perspective As the team refines the brief, keep the focus on the outcome and avoid getting personal. Each sticky note should be discussed on its own merit. Each person / department will have their own ‘not negotiable’ areas and in understanding these you will see more clearly the issues that need to be resolved.

SHAPING THE BRIEF Now you have a clear brief this is the time for constructive critical thinking. Always keep referring back to the brief and end goal. You can use the sticky notes again or just start writing and drawing as you explore the possible pathways ahead. There are often many layers to consider. This is the time for research

on all levels including budget costs. Depending on your concept you may use mind mapping, or other models and matrices to do this such as SWOT. Each pathway is going to be specific to your outcome but you need to know you have exhausted all the avenues of discovery.

PUSH PAUSE Because at this point you will most likely be very excited about getting started it is worth taking time to do a ‘pre-mortem’. This is the time to hear the unspoken thoughts that tend to surface after something has failed such as ‘I knew that would never work because…’, ‘I could see that going to happen but they didn’t want to hear’ and ‘That was always going to happen’. Make it anonymous if need be but extract those thoughts from your people.

DECISION TIME This is the moment you push go on spending the dollars making your complex concept happen or cut your losses and move on. Whatever you decide you will always know that you explored the concept in depth and the right decision was made. LG • Jeanette Bremner is chief activator at Big Box Productions.






Councils wanting to improve their customers’ experience should start by seeing how their own people manage complaints, say FairWay Resolution’s Dr Jason Price and Jenny Rowan.


ublic and private sector organisations are continually on the lookout for new ways to balance the challenge of improving customer service while containing, or reducing, costs. Whether the pressure comes from customer feedback, outside organisations, elected politicians or budget changes, local government faces constant demands to keep services standards high and demonstrate good value for taxpayers’ money. As consumers, we encounter customer service every day and each good experience raises the bar of our perceptions that little bit higher for other organisations to reach. The public sector faces three extra challenges: customers can’t usually choose to go somewhere else for their services; services may be subject to legislative procedures and processes; and councils can’t choose not to provide services to unprofitable customers. So how does a council raise its game and improve performance when it doesn’t have all the options available that the private sector does? In customer service, it’s all about your people. Who they are, how they behave and what they say and do at the moment of customer contact defines your council’s service experience. While you can invest in technology to help them (or re-direct customers to self-serve), in the vast majority of cases, the definitive moment of truth in customer service comes down to the personal experience between customer and staff member. As any team sports coach knows, it’s how your players perform under pressure that makes the difference to whether you’ll win or lose the game.


Jenny Rowan

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Complaints management is at the sharp end of customer service. This is where your people can really get put under pressure. In the quest for improving services, councils should see complaints as a good thing. If your council’s approach to complaints management is focused mainly on getting the numbers down, it may be time to take another look at your strategy. Complaints are your council’s opportunity to find out where things are going wrong with services, and to put things right. Think of it as free market research. In an ideal world, you’d actually like 100 percent of your dissatisfied customers to send you a complaint, so you have the opportunity to fix things. However research in customer behaviour tells us that, in reality, as few as five to 10 percent of dissatisfied consumers tend to complain. If you’re one of those councils struggling to understand why your residents’ satisfaction survey has stalled or is on a downward trend, take a look at your complaints management.

Ask yourself how easy you make it for unhappy people to complain. Assuming they choose to complain, what kind of experience do people receive when they offer you the benefit of some free market research and improvement advice? Will the person they speak to make them feel welcome, understand and listen to their concern? Or will the customer feel like they’re about to engage in a prolonged battle with a bureaucracy that’s trying to defend its position?

EMPLOYEES The way your staff react to a complainant can turn a customer’s emotional state from dissatisfaction into anger. In fact, the reaction of employees handling a complaint can be a greater cause of dissatisfaction than the original service failure itself. The attitude of your employees defines the customer experience you’re offering. Complaints can be emotional, complex and a source of conflict. A recent study by FairWay Resolution into workplace conflict in New Zealand showed that 30 percent of employees surveyed had experienced conflict with a customer. This is what makes complaints management the sharp end of customer service, with the potential to take a disproportionate amount of time and organisational resources if complaints are handled poorly.

START WITH COMPLAINTS Organisations that deal with complaints effectively experience a greater degree of satisfaction and loyalty from their customers. That concept is something elected politicians and loyalty marketing people both understand. Creating a positive culture of learning from complaints requires you to do three things: • Understand your employees’ views. Their attitudes, perceptions and opinions on managing complaints are defining the experience you’re delivering. • Provide positive leadership from the top. Both elected politicians and managers at all levels set the example that employees will follow in their attitude towards complaints. • Create a positive, supportive culture of complaints. Help your people to rise to the challenge and achieve their best in the most difficult of circumstances. If you’re looking to tackle performance improvement in your council, maybe you should find out what it’s like at the sharp end first? LG • Dr Jason Price is a complaints management consultant for specialist conflict management company FairWay Resolution. Jenny Rowan is FairWay’s business director, local government & environment.

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A wider discussion Let’s not miss the opportunity.



GNZ is to be commended for starting a public discussion on the funding of local government. Its recently-released discussion paper is easy to read, and presents some sobering data on the pressures which local government faces. It does something which many in local government still find difficult to do in recognising the enormous significance of demographic change and the reality that many of New Zealand’s communities will face both declining populations and a declining revenue base. The picture it paints is potentially gloomy, with increasing funding pressures placed on ratepayers who themselves will often find it difficult to meet increased demands, especially those who are unable to do much to increase their income – many older people, and the even larger section of the population whose labour market incomes are relatively static. It also does a good job of pointing out a number of the anomalies in current funding systems, and the persistent habit of central government of shifting cost to local government (a widespread practice internationally). Taken overall, the discussion document looks like a compelling case that central government should allow local government access to one or more and significant sources of additional funding. In practice, that would mean central government sharing an existing tax revenue stream with local government, and / or legislating for a new tax which it could retain itself but instead would make available for local government. In other words, central government assistance would come at the price of reducing central government’s own revenue options. Is the local government case as strong as it appears? It’s really a comparative argument. To support it you need to believe that local government is worse off than central government. But is it? Debt across local government averages less than 10 percent of total assets. Central government’s debt is rather more than 70

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percent of total assets. Councils typically run an operating surplus. Central government, despite Bill English’s best efforts, persistently runs a deficit. Now look at the longer term picture. Readers of Affording Our Future, the Treasury’s most recent long-term fiscal outlook, will know that central government faces some very major fiscal challenges over the medium to long term which will require a mix of major policy change, significant expenditure reduction and almost certainly revenue increases to manage. Comparing the two sectors, what seems obvious is that both are under pressure, but central government faces more severe pressures especially over the medium to long term. If anything, the relative outlooks suggest that local government as a sector should be assuming part of central government’s fiscal burden rather than the other way around. How should the next stage in the funding review process deal with this ‘elephant in the room’? As a first step, shift away from looking at this purely from a local government perspective and think about what a “principles-based” partnership between central and local government would actually mean. Arguably, the first principle should be recognising that each sector is in the business of providing services to citizens whether they happen to be called ratepayers or taxpayers. Surely it’s time to put aside the fiction that somehow whether a necessary service is properly funded depends on whether it is the responsibility of central government or local government. The next stage in the funding review needs to regain the initiative, and demonstrate that local government is taking a whole-ofcommunity approach, and not just focused on funding its own services. The obvious step is to propose that its “principles-based” partnership should focus on how to prioritise the service needs of New Zealanders regardless of who has the formal responsibility for providing them. LG


Panasonic Toughpad A tablet computer that provides enough processing power for different applications, but that can provide ease of use and reliability in all field conditions.



the only choice for Wanganui District Council. Toughpad FZ-G1: Windows 8 Pro, IP65 and Military Standard certifications, sunlight viewable screen enables workers to access applications when and wherever they need.


The arrival of the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 couldn’t come too soon for Jason Simons, Information Services Manager at Wanganui District Council. With his approach of equipping staff with the best technology tools available to get the job done better, Panasonic’s FZ-G1 Toughpad is the ideal companion for field engineers, helping them get more done, with less hassle and greater efficiency.




Simons notes that a district council conducts a range of outdoors activities through its field staff. “Providing field engineers with the information they need to do their jobs has been a driver for the Council for the past five years. In the past, that information, whatever it was, was paper-based. That meant it was frequently out of date, difficult to read and a constant hassle when working collaboratively to know who had the most recent version,” he says.

With another part of Wanganui District Council using Toughbook laptops, Simons was keen for the Council to get its hands on the Toughpad FZ-G1. “We’d seen demos and done considerable research. There was little doubt that this was the right device to equip our people,” he says.

Simons describes the impact of the Toughpad FZ-G1 as transformational. “We’d been waiting for a Windows 8 rugged tablet and now we have a device where the hardware is matched by the operating system,” he says.

There was little doubt that this was the right device to equip our people.

Packed into a compact chassis with a 10.1inch sunlight-viewable screen, the FZ-G1 is based on an Intel Core i5 processor with 4GB RAM as standard. It is a complete Windows/ Intel machine in tablet form-factor; while that’s impressive in its own right, the device is also fully rugged, with impact and vibration resistance (it can be dropped from a height of 120cm without suffering any damage), certified water and dust ingress protection.

As an early adopter – and with his personal approach to information technology summed up as ‘best tool for the job’ – Simons says Wanganui District Council initially deployed a competitor product. “However, these devices were slow, had a very poor battery life and problems with overheating. They were rugged, though, and established the use-case very well.”

Our most valuable resource is our people and with the FZ-G1, the result is greater efficiency, improved convenience and computing.

The initial deployment of the FZ-G1s are targeted at field engineers, who use the devices to access a cloud-based Geographical Information System (GIS). “In many instances, these users are looking at assets which are buried under their feet. When contractors are doing work, they can access the GIS system while peering into excavations and update the information contained on the system right at the minute.”

“The availability of devices like the Toughpads means we are able to accurately match IT equipment to how people and processes work. For more information or to book a test drive phone 0800 286 844 or visit

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Humidity and water resistant.





RMA reform What could changes to the RMA mean to councils?


n late January, when most of us were still staggering back to work after a brilliantly bright holiday break, the Nelson Rotary was privileged to get the run-down on the Government’s plans for the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) from Environment Minister, Dr Nick Smith. His important speech outlined 10 major changes that the Government proposes to introduce, and deservedly got wide coverage in the media. Of course what his speech described is the second phase of resource management reforms to be introduced since National gained power in 2008. The reform process was temporarily stalled in the last term of office by the difficulty in ensuring sufficient support in Parliament to pass the legislative changes sought. It looks as if what will be put forward this time will encompass and surpass the earlier proposals. And this time there is a populist axe to grind in the form of housing (un)affordability, backed by a report prepared for Treasury and MBIE by Motu Economic & Public Policy Research and Livingston Associates. The report, which is based on information obtained from the results of interviews of 16 Auckland property developers, allows Smith to claim that the RMA adds $30,000 to the cost of an apartment, or $15,000 to the cost of a home, and reduces the capacity of housing development by 22 percent (in Auckland presumably). According to the report, it does so by regulating things like building height limits, minimum floor area and balcony requirements, in the case of apartments, and section size requirements, infrastructure contributions and extended consent processes for residential sections and dwellings. The report itself points out there is no corresponding assessment of the benefit of

these requirements, and that it is not a costbenefit analysis. Therefore, it is simply a report designed to show that the RMA adds to the cost of housing – an assertion never seriously in doubt. While no one can doubt Smith has a good point to make about housing costs, it is only part of the picture. One hopes he does not intend to disregard entirely the impact of rules on height, floor size etc on the quality of the built environment and the health and amenity of the end users. He does have other concerns about the Act, which should be of concern to everyone if correct. He says: “It [the RMA] is making housing too expensive. It is hampering job and export growth. It is stymieing muchneeded infrastructure. And it is not doing a particularly good job of managing vital natural resources like freshwater.” At this point we do not know the details of what is proposed. Smith promises a draft bill in the first half of this year, and to have it before Parliament and the full select committee process this year. He touts it as “the most significant overhaul of the Act since its inception 25 years ago”. That is a big claim since there have already been major amendments in phase one, but this time the Government appears determined to shake the foundations of the industry that has grown up around the Act. Perhaps the most direct impact on councils, planners, consultants and lawyers will be the proposal to legislate to require the use of standard planning templates. What effect this will have on the currently endless rounds of plan changes and appeals can only be guessed at. Maybe it is time for a study on the cost of re-tooling planning teams and processes, and making new delegations every time the Government takes a new direction on the RMA? LG

CORRECTION AND APOLOGY: In Local Government Magazine’s February 2015 legal column we included incorrect contact details for writer Shyrelle Mitchell. She is a partner at Heaney & Partners.

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Picking targets Five ways to simplify complex messages.


f a skilled battle archer had been asked to shoot an arrow that would meander all over the battlefield knocking off a whole bunch of different targets, he would probably have given as straight an answer as his arrow would fly. Roughly translated into modern English, it may have sounded like this: “No. If I have five targets, I use five arrows.” The tone and potential for additional adverbs would likely depend on who asked the question. We are often asked to communicate what seem at first glance to be complex messages, such as the issues affecting future infrastructure or local government funding. However, when you step back, you’ll find the messages are not as complex as they first seem, and are much like the task requested of an archer. Here are five tips to help newbies and inspire experts. 1 Do a target sweep When handed a complex message, do a quick target sweep. Freshen your perspective by noting only things that different stakeholders have to act on. Ignore stuff some people think other people need to “be aware of” and limit yourself only to things different audiences need to do. These can help define your different targets, so you can figure out how many comms arrows you need to shoot and where to shoot them to accomplish anything of real value. 2 One target per arrow As much as you can, try to avoid firing one arrow at multiple targets. In a press release, for example, try to avoid firing one release aimed at policymakers at the same time as rate- or taxpayers at the same time as business reporters at the same time as visitors to your region. Pick them off one by one. 3 Aim There’s a warning billboard on the winding Coromandel Thames coast road that says ‘where you look is where you go’. Communication is the same. Where you focus attention is where the conversation

will go. Your arrow will either fly true to its clear target or end up missing the lot. The classic PR principle of setting the media agenda by getting your angle out first can be applied to any focus. When trying to figure out what you really want to get out of your communication with any arrow release, just ask yourself what water-cooler conversation you want your audience to be engaged in as a result of what you shoot. Then aim for that. 4 Think like a TV writer If you have multiple subjects or angles you want audiences to be talking about this year, then think like a TV writer. Over the past year, the big money for international TV writers has trended away from action toward character. Our audiences are also their audiences and if that’s the way the wind is blowing, we need to similarly serve up characters they care about and develop these characters and stories over multiple episodes. Find empathetic common ground with your intended audience. Start the story, then develop it over time. To go back to our archer, that’s like putting the targets on a timeline and firing arrows in an order that steers the direction of the conversations. 5 Follow the action When editing footage some years ago, I was insanely frustrated when the action moved out of frame and the cameraman kept the camera pointed at the vacated air. Ever since, the lesson has been burned into my soul: if your target moves, change your aim. The same goes for comms. Watch the mood. If the landscape changes, expect your targets to move, and track them as you aim. Comms is like a battlefield. If Pat Benatar were a comms person, we’d have our own anthem. Complex subjects are like battlefields. We may not get to simplify the battle but we can be smarter about picking our targets within them. LG





Those 140 characters Social media: pitfalls for councils.



aving been on holiday most of this last month, I’ve finally had time to tackle an ever-growing pile of books, magazines and papers I’d been meaning to read. That includes, as it happens, a few issues of this magazine. So it was, then, that I came across an article in Local Government Magazine’s February edition pertaining to social media – specifically the respective uptake of it by councils here and in the UK. (See In Brief, page six.) In a nutshell, UK councils use more social media, New Zealand councils are less afraid of it, and both groups find it hard to pin down exactly how useful it really is. In my performing arts career, I view social media as a necessary evil. It’s a useful promotional tool and can be a great source of breaking news. But at the same time it can also act as a rabbit hole through which numerous hours and brain cells disappear as I wade through the constant stream of dross looking for those elusive nuggets of wisdom that so rarely appear. So while the idea of councils engaging with their constituents via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the rest certainly seems to make sense, I can see a few pitfalls which must be avoided. Firstly, watch your language. The vernacular of social media is a dialect of its own and while abbreviations are necessary they can also go spectacularly wrong. I don’t really want to get a notification that “Power is out in Beachhaven today. LOL” or “House prices rising in your area. YOLO”. (If you don’t know what these mean, ask the nearest child. He or she will explain.) The basic rule

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here is just because everyone else is using them, that doesn’t mean councils should. Secondly – act your age. Twitter in particular has an astonishing ability to drag everyone down to its lowest levels of discourse. I can’t count how many otherwise educated, mature friends of mine regress into surly teenagers as soon as anyone questions anything they write online. You only need to read the comments section of any news website to see what I mean. I can too easily see councils trolling each other with anonymous comments taking aim at other cities’ perceived faults. This particularly goes for mayors who may enjoy an after-work beverage or two. Thirdly, keep a sense of perspective. What may be vitally important and fascinating to you might not have the same appeal to others. In an age where anyone with a smartphone and an opinion suddenly feels they can call themselves a political commentator, there is often some idea that adding a hashtag to something, no matter how mundane, imbues it with significance. #gigatown – I’m looking at you. Finally, less is usually more. Social media is addictive and the temptation can be to share every aspect of a life with the unsuspecting public. While I would gladly accept updates on important occasions, and current and special events from my local council, I don’t need photos of their pot luck lunches, selfies with local landmarks or point-by-point livetweeting of council meetings. With care, social media could be a great tool for councils. Just try and behave better on it than the rest of us do. And yes, I include myself in that description. LG


Realistic funding models On the need to truly deliver value.



y the time you read this column there will be a new mayor in Palmerston North as the former mayor Jono Naylor is now a list Member of Parliament. When considering my voting opportunities and finding out what the candidates stood for, I came across frequent mention of maintaining rates at acceptable levels or limiting rate increases. But our communities want the infrastructure and services provided and at higher levels of service. More correctly, communities and individuals simply want agreed levels of service to be provided. This got me thinking about the LGNZ Local Government Funding Review discussion paper published at the beginning of February. One of the major themes evident from a first read of the document is for local government to reduce its reliance on rates as its primary source of income. On average, local government receives 49 percent of its income from property rates – although this varies from council to council depending on other forms of income a council may receive. Transport funding for local government is part-funded by the Funding Assistance Rates as NZTA recognises that benefits accrue both nationally and locally from this assistance. It is significant that Minister of Transport Simon Bridges announced on January 30 the first set of urban cycleways projects: 13 projects have been identified with many having commuter, as well as recreational, benefits. “This is the beginning of a programme that will change the face of cycleways in New Zealand using clever funding leveraging,” he says. “By pulling together multiple funding sources, the Urban Cycleways Programme will get high-quality projects underway much sooner than may otherwise have been the case. “The Government’s Urban Cycleways Fund will contribute $9.92 million, with another $21.12 million coming from the National Land Transport Fund, and $6.26 million from

local government and other contributions,” the minister says. This year, those sources have made available a total of about $37.3 million. Those councils providing the local share for these cycleways should be heartened by the Local Government Funding Review paper where it provides examples of local government involvement in transformative projects around the country that include the Hauraki cycleway. “Local government and central government have partnered to create a project that is estimated to be returning $1.8 to $2.8 million to the Hauraki economy every month,” it says. Two other examples were provided in the paper. This is great for the transport component of local government expenditure. However, there is currently no central government fund to support the construction, maintenance and renewal for other assets that have both a national and local benefit. For example, the discussion paper cites the Clutha District Council being required to upgrade its water supply assets as a result of legislative changes to drinking water standards, when the cost benefit was negative. The discussion paper then proposes a principles-based partnership which appears to have considerable merit as it requires central government to “fully consider the costs and benefits of decisions for local government, and to co-fund costs where policy proposals have significant national as well as local benefit”. The discussion paper further suggests that to maintain our standard of living we need to concentrate on those activities or policy requirements that truly deliver value for money and deliver a positive cost benefit. New Zealand has significant infrastructure assets that need to be constructed, renewed, maintained, operated and managed in smart ways. I believe the Local Government Funding Review discussion paper is a significant start to developing realistic funding models. LG





Join the debate Funding review sparks important conversation.



hile we have had expected reactions from some quarters, feedback to the recent LGNZ Local Government Funding Review discussion paper has largely been very positive. Our intention at this stage was to start a conversation about the sustainability of how councils can fund future infrastructure and service needs for communities, so it is pleasing to see reactions and debate. An editorial in the Wanganui Chronicle says the report “grasped a prickly nettle that needs uprooting” because local government funding is “overdue” for an overhaul. The piece went on to point out that central government policy imposes a lot of extra costs at a local level, “and central government needs to be part of the solution”. NZ Herald commentator Brian Fallow wrote, “One of the problems with the reliance on a property tax for half of local government’s revenue (on average nationwide) is that the twin trends of an ageing population and declining home ownership mean a growing proportion of ratepayers will be elderly, with limited income growth from which to pay ever-rising rates bills.” He also acknowledges the potentially multibillion-dollar gap between the depreciation of existing infrastructure and the expenditure on renewing. Our sector is responsible for roads and bridges, passenger public transport, parking, airports, potable water supply and treatment, sewerage networks including mains and treatment, the collection and disposal of solid waste and refuse, recycle collection and recovery. The New Zealand Initiative thinktank welcomed our discussion paper. Its executive director Dr Oliver Hartwich commented that New Zealand has one of the most centralised forms of government among developed countries, with 90 cents in every tax dollar

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spent by officials in Wellington. “From the Beehive, New Zealand looks like a uniform place, but in reality the communities that make up this country have vastly different needs that can only be met by service providers on the ground,” Hartwich said. “Devolving functions like education and welfare to local government is an effective means of improving delivery, as councils must respond to the needs of their communities if they want to compete for tax revenue. This is a proven model in countries like Switzerland and Denmark, and there is no reason why it wouldn’t work here.” Hartwich was on the working group that advised the discussion paper’s author so he had unique insight into this project and the surrounding issues. While not everyone will agree with the broad spectrum of ideas in the discussion paper, he says, there is a broad consensus that there is a need to change how local government is funded in the long term. “Sitting back and watching this important part of our democracy crumble is just not acceptable,” Hartwich said. Federated Farmers, the collective voice for farmers across all of New Zealand, endorsed our discussion paper for highlighting the need to end reliance on the current property valuebased rating system. Continuing to set rates based on the value of a property is “crude”, “simplistic” and “unsustainable”, Federated Farmers local government spokesperson Katie Milne said. LGNZ is now seeking responses to the discussion paper. We will then collate these into a final report proposing a long-term strategy and sustainable funding model for local government in New Zealand. We welcome your feedback before 27 March to LG

Transport – Transitioning to a One Network Road Classification 2015 The Road Efficiency Group is a combined Local Government New Zealand, Road Controlling Authority Forum and New Zealand Transport Agency governance group whose role is to oversee the implementation of the Road Maintenance Task Force recommendations released in 2012. As part of these recommendations, the One Network Road Classification (ONRC) has now been applied to Road Controlling Authorities (RCAs ) with the final stages of moderation well underway to support national consistency in classification. Lessons learned in the ONRC classification process have been about supporting RCAs to engage with the low hanging fruit and seek support in working through the more complex aspects of classification. Dr Steven Finlay, co–director of the Road Efficiency Group (REG) and Director of the EquiP’s Road Transport Unit (RTU) says RCAs have been engaging very constructively with the classification guidance material and support available through the RTU. “By rolling up our sleeves together and getting into the challenging detail, we learn lessons that help both the RCA and others facing similar challenges. The process is well worth the challenge.” It is a process of being open to engagement, and all parties showing a willingness to learn, adjust and adapt as the next challenge arises. These are key lessons that can also be applied to the next step in implementing the Performance Measures framework. Achieving a nationally consistent customer experience means

each RCA working with their neighbour, the RTU and the Transport Agency to establish fit for purpose customer levels of service within and across the classification system. For the next step, early engagement with the guidance material and the RTU can also prove helpful. “For those RCAs who are engaging early, we are able to offer support and assistance in a timely manner. As with the ONRC classification, we suggest focusing on Performance Measures for which the data is attainable. Where there are gaps in either data or process, these need to be noted.” Planning the transition to full ONRC implementation The Performance Measures framework provides the means of enabling an intelligent conversation about sharing best practice activity management inside the classification system. As the levels of service get embedded and reported over time, the opportunity emerges to allow all parties to dialogue on where the gaps in data or service levels exist, and how these can be addressed. The value of the data is that it can support the case for investment based on robust

Quick tips on performance measures • • • •

Engage early. The more time support is in place, the better the outcome will be. Focus on measures where the data is available or easily accessible Note and record where data or processes are absent. Report these gaps in the Transition Plan, with an assessment of how they will be addressed by 2017/ 18.

information, which can empower all parties with valuable knowledge on the state, and status, of their network. The measures provide a snapshot in time of the network. With three years to embed, adapt and improve the system, there are lots of opportunities for all parties to share learnings. It is fundamental to maintain the momentum established by the ONRC classification and keep building supportive networks. By gathering resources and sharing knowledge, the sector as a whole moves forward. “REG is driving a vision of New Zealand leading the way in improving Activity Management practices, where improvements in customer experience go hand in hand with improvements in value for money,” Dr Finlay says. “That’s a powerful opportunity to drive excellence to protect and enhance our communities’ assets for future growth – a vision EquiP’s RTU is right behind.” EquiP has produced a Transition Plan Guide to support RCAs in the process. Please contact for more information.

< By gathering resources and sharing knowledge, the sector as a whole moves forward. >





Goodgovernance governancein inlocal localgovernment government Good The challenge with defining governance, professional director Dr Brian Rhoades says, is that there is no short pithy definition. “Governance varies dramatically depending on the circumstances,” he says. In a local government context, the fundamental principle of governance is one of trying to determine what the job is to be done and how best the elected members, through the people they employ, are able to get the job done. Councils of course also need to always keep in mind the Local Government Act and its requirements.

The importance of good processes

Dr Rhoades says there are lessons for local government to learn from the corporate world.

“The legislative rule book is quite sparse on this. Councils need to look hard at their process to embed good culture,” Dr Rhoades says.

“In a corporate environment, governance is defined essentially by what are referred to as the four pillars. These are determining your purpose, creating an effective governance culture, holding to account and effective compliance. Those four pillars tend to be performed in succession, starting with clear determination of what the purpose is of the organisation the board/council has oversight of. This needs to be considered on an ongoing basis to ensure the organisation does continue to focus on that.”

A good culture has well defined roles between management and elected representatives including the Mayor or Chair, that are well understood and accepted. The key element of a good culture is an opportunity for everybody to contribute constructively in a team environment.

Have fundamental principles in place Where corporate boards differ dramatically from local government governance bodies is that the three year election cycle means councils can regularly plan for when to expect possible changes. Each election brings a very strong stakeholder or public message coming to those in positions of governance every three years about the direction council has been taking based on voter behaviour. Therefore you can have, at times, changes in council direction depending on who is elected. “The long term plan is normally prepared at the end of the second year of the three year term. Councillors can then discuss what the fundamental agreement is among them about the purpose of the council in the earlier part of term together,” Dr Rhoades says. “How well that is determined can have a huge impact on the council.” There will always be differences of opinions, as there should be – so processes need to be in place early on in the term to determine where the level of agreement is on what the council wishes to do. That can save a huge amount of time wasted on arguing individual points and opinions where there is no clear common view of what it is the council is trying to achieve.

Good processes help to create a good culture, one where decision-making is effective. For councils, this means having clear annual work plans within three year time frames, and clear agendas and papers.

“Very often in governance situations, people end up with an ‘us and them’ sort of environment. Well-functioning teams don’t start out all in agreement – they should welcome differences of opinion, get underneath that and understand why exist, then incorporate different views.” Accountability For councils, accountability is about holding management to account and being accountable as councillors to the community. Management essentially hold the purse strings and a huge amount of power because they control the money. What’s critical for governance is the way accountability is exercised. Accountability lies with elected members who need to delegate that accountability and authority to act to ensure managment can undertake their tasks effectively and apply good judgement.

“We have to remember that every elected representative has a right to a say, so there will be differences of opinion. You need to set up a governance culture that enables you to determine the fundamentals of what it is you agree on at the start of the term,” Dr Rhoades says. “This is a useful mind-set in taking in submissions. In an environment of uncertainty, having a clear public statement of the objectives and goals can be very enabling for getting a community working together to achieve the same sort of purposes councils are trying to achieve.”

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< There are governance lessons for local government to learn from the corporate world. >

EDITOR Compliance The Local Government Act sets out guidelines to be met. Councillors need to complete the compliance loop by reporting back to various stakeholders, including the community and central government. “Getting messages through can be challenging in a noisy environment,” Dr Rhoades says. “Things don’t always go well. It’s how we deal with the difficulties that tests a board/council to find out whether it has good governance in place or not.”

Institute of Directors membership No matter what your career stage, membership gives you the chance to demonstrate your commitment to following best practice as a director. There are many reasons for joining depending on your career stage. Established directors join because they want to support their profession by belonging to the professional organisation for directors. They believe in standards for directors. They want to give back to the profession. New directors join to further develop their career. Membership gives them access to training and opportunities to build their networks. To find out more visit

betterBoards • Assess the performance of your board using the Institute of Directors’ online evaluation tool. Identify your board’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement against The Four Pillars of Governance Best Practice. • Receive evaluation reports which are comprehensive, easy to follow, and allow you to track improvements over time. • Your reports will be accompanied by an overview to assist the chair in leading post-evaluation discussions, or you can choose to have an Institute of Directors facilitator to lead this for you. To find out more visit

Upcoming KnowHow workshops 26-27 March: Rating Practitioners This rating seminar is for rating practitioners and is designed to highlight current and emerging rating issues. Session topics include: • • • • •

understanding the complexity of rating different options for rates collection multi Maori Land rating issues legal issues facing the sector what’s new from OVG and QV including sharing valuation data • Christchurch four years on – what have we learnt? Who should attend? Everyone who is working in the local government sector with involvement in rating operations, finance and rating management, debt collection. 17 April: Financial Governance 101 / Wellington Your local community rely on you to make wise financial choices, but local government finances can often be difficult to interpret and manage. This workshop helps you navigate often complex financial jargon and gives you the confidence to question and inform financial decisions. We use your own council’s LTP as a basis for the training, so you get a greater understanding of your local situation. Topics include the impact of policy decisions on finances, terminology and processes, and ways to identify and isolate critical data. 21 April: Audit & Risk Committees / Wellington Audit and risk management are essential functions of any governing body. This workshop begins with an overview of risk management and what is the governance role in risk management. A cornerstone of transparent and successful local government is solid financial reporting. We discuss the role of the audit and risk committee in the functions of external financial reporting, engagement with external and internal auditor. To register for KnowHow workshops please visit

< Things don’t always go well. It’s how we deal with the difficulties that tests a board/council to find out whether it has good governance in place or not. > MARCH 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE




The Final Word Addressing future funding challenges Local government across New Zealand is currently facing an unprecedented funding challenge with demographic and economic change. In response to this, last year the LGNZ Local Government Funding Review was launched to examine issues. The discussion paper from this work was released recently and a position paper will follow, once the working group has reviewed submissions. This project aims to consider alternative options to fund communities’ increasing demand for services and infrastructure. The discussion paper outlines the findings of our funding review working group’s research to date, and potential options for addressing current and likely future funding shortfalls in local government. Councils spend approximately 10.5 per cent of all public expenditure, yet they raise only 8.3 per cent of all public revenue. In a recent report on local government finances, The World Bank describes this as a vertical fiscal gap caused by a “mismatch between revenue means and expenditure needs.” This funding gap only accounts for basic operational expenditure; it does not include long term capital improvements.

< The goal is not to increase the overall tax burden for New Zealand, but rather to determine whether a different mix of funding options for local government might deliver better outcomes for the country. >

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Many urban areas across New Zealand are continuing to grow, requiring significant investment in infrastructure to accommodate this. Conversely, a number of others face the situation of having to maintain and renew infrastructure with declining populations and funding bases. This is occurring alongside increasing community and central government expectations, increasing natural hazards impacts and environmental challenges. Christchurch is an obvious example, as it considers options to meet its share of post-earthquake rebuild costs. However, many others have to plan how to fund responses to the growing number of extreme weather events. As part of the solution, LGNZ proposes a principles-based partnership model with central government. This would include central government fully considering the costs and benefits of decisions for local communities and co-funding costs where policy proposals have significant national and local benefit. Although the core purpose of this first paper is to elevate the key issues, it also examines some of the options that could sit alongside a property tax (rates) based funding system. Options suggested for discussion include local income tax, local expenditure tax, selective taxes, regional fuel taxes and transaction taxes. The goal is not to increase the overall tax burden for New Zealand, but rather to determine whether a different mix of funding options for local government might deliver better outcomes for the country. Additionally, it will be crucial for local and central government to work together in an effective partnership to develop and progress towards shared goals and strategies to address the funding gap. Before pursuing fundamental changes to the funding regime, local government is aware it needs to assure communities that it is open to innovation in service delivery, and to build confidence in the quality of its spending decisions. Local government is an important contributor to economic growth but the right incentives and resources must be in place to drive this.




Vol.9 No.1

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OIL & GAS IN FOCUS Vol.8 No.2 2014

The energy industry’s only print magazine is now published four times a year and each issue has a special industry cover feature.

Summer (January) PERSPECTIVES An annual report on the country’s energy sectors written by selected association chiefs, expert commentators and industry representatives, who reflect on the previous year and ‘forecast’ the coming year. Described as the ‘primer’ for the country’s energy scene. Autumn (April) OIL & GAS IN FOCUS

Includes a special feature on our petroleum and hydro-carbon industry, with a focus on large projects and activity sites around the Taranaki region, and exploration and future plans in other prospective regions.



Includes a special feature on energy innovations and trends in project design, plant building and project operations.

Spring (October) AUTOMATION

Includes a special feature review of automation processes in all energy sectors.

AUTOMATION Vol.8 No.2 2014

New subscribers Make sure you get every issue of EnergyNZ magazine. Email with all your details including your name, address, postcode and EnergyNZ in the subject line. An annual subscription only costs $30 (including GST and postage within NZ).

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Dedicated to CAT





Trends in industrial automation


Energy efficient and labour saving systems

Electrifying Auckland’s rail Renewing a whole city’s rail signalling system

Automated drilling on Maui A Improved safety, operational flexibility and better overall efficiency

The changing face of training New educational trends

THE RIGHT GEAR FOR THE JOB QRS has taken delivery of three new Hyundai excavators from Porter Equipment.


Fixing the leaky Tekapo Canal was complex but a great success Suicide in construction – international stats make for sobering reading Health and Safety Reform Bill – proposed new duties and obligations In praise of roundabouts – a light-hearted look at one-way gyratories

Auckland Transport’s Dr Lester Levy talks about himself and his job Comprehensive coverage of the ever-expanding bauma China Margo Connell on small businesses and working families A Mt Maunganui company’s international award for road maintenance

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Volume 12 - No 1 | February - March 2015 | $8.95




Volume 11 - No 6 | December - January 2015 | $8.95

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VOL 52 • FEBRUARY 2015 • $8.95

VOL 51 • DECEMBER 2014/JANUARY 2015 • $8.95


TAPPING INTO THE SCIENCE Water NZ’s new fluoridation code of practice p20

Amuri Lime “couldn’t be happier” with its second Hitachi wheeled loader from CablePrice


Stephen Town talks employment relations p22

DUNEDIN’S SUE BIDROSE On developing a fraud-resistant council p26



Hyundai debuted its largest excavator yet, the R1200-9, at ConExpo this year, and now Stevensons is using one at its Drury Quarry



The industry veteran has got into unique minerals – big time


Reviewing the decision to leave the fatal mine sealed

Bursting with fitness for purpose p20

Bathurst Resources’ corporate manager talks about her job and the industry.



Will the new requirements be too onerous for small quarries?

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Stevenson Resources is redeveloping its Drury Quarry to get at new resources.



Todd Corporation sets up a minerals arm to invest in Pilbara iron ore.

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SOLGM’S annual summit p24

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INTELLIGENT CITIES How to move differently p34

Skin in the game p14



Hamilton City Council: Much more than a makeover p32

Shaping future roads & water services p14


How to recover from setbacks p36

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NZ Local Government Ruth Le Pla Email Phone +64 21 266 3978

NZ Local Government and EnergyNZ Peter Corcoran Email Phone +64 7 825 7557 Mob 021 272 7227

Contractor, Q&M and EnergyNZ Alan Titchall Email Phone +64 9 636 5712

Contractor and Q&M Charles Fairbairn Email Phone +64 9 636 5724 Mob 021 411 890

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