NZ LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE VOL 52 • MAY 2015 • $8.95
How to develop great local government leaders p18
FYI: ITO NOW COVERS H2O
LOCAL ALCOHOL POLICY APPEALS
THE OAG’S BRUCE ROBERTSON
ALL POWER TO PAIHIA
Just add water. Connexis expands its industry coverage p17 On being a quiet voice for local government p26
What have we learned so far? p30
A small Far North community is taking charge p32
Building communities We earned our stripes building the spine of New Zealandâ€™s roading network and today our quality-focused teams are also making their mark with advanced construction and roading projects across Australia and the South Pacific. Contact us: Phone: 03 357 1400 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.fultonhogan.com
IN THIS ISSUE NZ LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
CONTENTS P26 IN THIS ISSUE
2 Editor’s Letter 4 In Brief 13 Innovations 14 Around the Councils 16 Events 45 LGNZ
17 F YI: ITO NOW COVERS H2O Just add water. Connexis expands its industry coverage 18 M ANAGING IN CHALLENGING TIMES How to develop great local government leaders 23 G REAT MANAGEMENT: TOP PROJECTS The McGredy Winder 2015 SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards 30 LOCAL ALCOHOL POLICY APPEALS What have we learned so far? 32 A LL POWER TO PAIHIA How a small Far North community is taking charge 36 S USTAINABILITY IS SIMPLE Rethinking urban landscape design 38 N OT ON MY WATCH Can your organisation survive the business ethics breakfast test? 40 N EXT STEPS New people: new roles. Latest local government appointments
COLUMNISTS 41 Jeremy Elwood: On the Funny Stuff 42 Linda O’Reilly: On Legal Issues 43 M alcolm Abernethy: From Civil Contractors New Zealand 44 Lawrence Yule: From LGNZ
ON THE COVER
Managing in challenging times. See page 18.
Cover image: © Paha_l | Dreamstime.com
MY VIEW 26 THE OAG’S BRUCE ROBERTSON On being a quiet voice for local government
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
EDITOR’S LETTER NZ LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
In good hands If my recent experiences are anything to go by, local government is in good hands. Make that great hands. I’m astounded at the emerging talent and amount of giving back that’s going on – much of it quietly happening behind closed doors. Truth to tell, though, some of it is anything but quiet. When SOLGM recently invited me to go behind the scenes at the New Zealand part of the LGMA Management Challenge, the nine Kiwi council teams were joyously loud as they introduced themselves on the opening night through a variety of skits, songs and dances – many of which I know pushed their personal comfort zone buttons. The challenge is where teams of five or six mid-tier officers battle it out for the right to represent New Zealand against winning groups from Australia later in the year. The next day, the serious business of competing pushed even more buttons for individuals and groups alike. I know this because people were admirably open about how much they had learnt in the lead-up to the challenge and how surprised many of them were at how they could do things they’d never imagined possible. All power, then, to chief facilitator Glenn Snelgrove (best known to many as the former chief executive of Western Bay of Plenty District Council) and the SOLGM team for making it possible for all this talent-stretching to take place. And big congratulations to the winning team from Tauranga City Council. You were impressive to watch in action. All power, also, to one of local government’s quiet champions the OAG’s Bruce Robertson who goes beyond the call of duty to help support and encourage the sector. (See my interview with him on page 26 of this issue.) I know he won’t want to be singled out for such praise. He strikes me as a modest kind of chap. But, sorry Bruce, this one’s for you. As I said, local government is in great hands.
Ruth Le Pla, editor, email@example.com
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 www.localgovernmentmag.co.nz GENERAL MANAGER Kevin Lawrence DDI: 09 636 5710 Mobile: 021 512 800 firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR Ruth Le Pla Mobile: 021 266 3978 email@example.com BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Peter Corcoran DDI: 07 825 7557 Mobile: 021 272 7227 firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Malcolm Abernethy, Jane Arnott, Jeremy Elwood, Tim Fischer, Tania McInnes, Padraig McNamara, Linda O’Reilly, Scott Smith, Lawrence Yule ADMINISTRATION/SUBSCRIPTIONS email@example.com DDI: 09 636 5715 PRODUCTION Design: Jonathan Whittaker firstname.lastname@example.org 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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McConnell Dowell builds better communities through safe, smart, efficient transport infrastructure.
Waterview Connection. Great Nth Rd Auckland. This project is being delivered by the Well-Connected Alliance for New Zealand Transport Agency.
New report bolsters understanding of water services Water New Zealand has released its latest National Performance Review (NPR) an annual review of water, wastewater and stormwater services. Participation is voluntarily undertaken by councils looking to progressively improve performance. This year’s report collates data from 31 participants providing services to over 70 percent of New Zealand’s population, a steady increase in numbers since the report’s inception in 2007-2008. The report is freely available on the projects page of the Water New Zealand website: www.waternz.org.nz The report includes information on assets, financial management, customer service levels and a range of social and environmental performance data. Comparative indicators are provided to assist service managers identify opportunities for improvement, fast-track developments through the learning of others and celebrate areas of good performance. Trends in data also provide information on the current status of the urban water sector. This complements other information sources such as the LGNZ 3 Waters project, the OAG’s “Water and Roads: Funding and management challenges” report, and the National Infrastructure Unit’s Infrastructure Evidence Base – an updated stock-take of our country’s infrastructure released ahead of the recent National Infrastructure Forum. The NPR reinforces a number of the findings of the LGNZ and OAG projects. It illustrates that differences across rural and metropolitan sectors are large. On average, rural sector participants are required to service nearly three times the length of pipe to supply a single connection as their metropolitan counterpart. Yet they have on average a quarter of their revenue. The report also reinforces the funding challenges of 3 Waters infrastructure provision – direct revenue reported by participants was often not covering reported costs. The median revenue reported by participants covered only 94 percent of operational costs, and only 64 percent of total costs.
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Residential end-use figures were compared with international benchmarks. The average number of connections with metering is around half of that reported by Pacific Island benchmarking participants where, unsurprisingly, residential end-use is roughly two thirds of that in New Zealand. Again, the research supports the findings of the LGNZ 3 Waters project, showing that incentivising assists in demand management. Water efficiency opportunities were also evident within participants’ own networks. Nearly half the participants who had undertaken a water loss efficiency assessment using the internationally-recognised infrastructure leakage index had water loss categorised from moderate to very high. Confidence in data availability was ranked by participants revealing that there are several councils yet to determine their water loss or water loss efficiency. Other measures also required under recentlyintroduced non-financial performance measures are also yet to be captured. The report also reveals good news. In general, customer charges are low relative to our neighbours in Australia. The median price of water and wastewater services in urban Australia is NZ$1,280 a year. This is nearly double that paid by NPR participants at NZ$742. Individual councils also demonstrated best practice results. Waikato District Council, for example, employed tiered pricing to penalise high water use. Wastewater sludge reuse schemes in Taupo, Western Bay of Plenty and Hamilton meant 100 percent of wastewater sludges will be beneficially reused. Water New Zealand will be running a series of workshops and webinars to help report participants use the information for continuous improvement. An open invitation to attend is also extended to councils interested in participating in next year’s report. If you would like to participate or think there are areas where improvements can be made Water New Zealand would like to hear from you. Email: email@example.com.
Waterview helps Te Kauwhata ANZAC spirit New Zealand’s biggest roading project, the NZ Transport Agency’s Waterview Connection, is helping a small rural town commemorate for the first time its people who fought for this country over the past 100 years. The newly-erected Soldiers Memorial on the Village Green at Te Kauwhata in north Waikato is made from five concrete segments that had been rejected for installation in the motorway tunnels at Waterview in Auckland. Two of the segments lean together and represent the spirit of ANZAC – New Zealand and Australian soldiers supporting each other. The other three have inscriptions in Māori and English, and the names of locals who served in all the services from World War 1 through to East Timor. Thirty-nine people from the community died on duty and 214 returned. The memorial was
conceived and erected by the Lions Club of Te Kauwhata and Districts. The segments each weigh 10 tonnes, and had been moulded at the Waterview project’s precast concrete factory at East Tamaki in Auckland, where more than 24,000 segments for the tunnels have been made.
Beca water engineer wins award The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) has recognised Beca’s Garry Macdonald for his longstanding contribution to water engineering. Garry, who is Beca business director for water, received the 2015 Angus Award – the ‘supreme technical award for engineering achievers in the field of water,
waste and amenities’ – at a recent IPENZ fellows’ and achievers’ awards dinner. In a consulting engineering career spanning 38 years, Garry has led many technical and project teams delivering improved waste and wastewater schemes for New Zealand’s major cities. He’s involved
in a number of industry bodies. In 2012 he was elected president of IPENZ. He is a past president and an honorary life member of Water New Zealand, and a board member and current Water New Zealand delegate of the Water Environment Federation based in Washington DC.
A dependable partner in the design, construction and maintenance of local body roads and assets. / Higgins provides a fully integrated road & infrastructure service, utilising the latest technology to deliver enhanced value. / Visit our website for more information or talk to our team at the IPWEA Conference, Rotorua 7 - 10 June 2015.
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
IN BRIEF DATES FOR YOUR DIARY MAY 5-6 HR in Local Government Forum. James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington www.solgm.org.nz/Calendar 1 4 - 16 New Zealand Community Boards Conference 2015. Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Waitangi, Bay of Islands www.nzcbc2015.co.nz 18 - 19 2015 ALGIM Web & Digital Symposium. Rydges Latimer Square, Christchurch www.algim.org.nz/algim-events 20 - 22 Asia Pacific International Stormwater Conference. Pullman Auckland www.waternz.org.nz/ 25 - 26 Acting Global – Energy Management Association Conference 2015. Mac’s Function Centre, Wellington www.emanz.org.nz/emanz-conference-2015
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26 - 27 Procurement for Local Authorities Made Simple. James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington www.solgm.org.nz/Calendar
JUNE 7 - 10 IFME World Congress on Municipal Engineering & IPWEA International Conference. Rotorua Energy Events Centre www.conferenceteam.co.nz 8-9 Management Skills for New Managers & Supervisors. Wellington www.conferenz.co.nz/ 16 Who’s afraid of the RMA? James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington www.solgm.org.nz/Calendar 18 - 19 Resilience for People Leaders in Local Government. James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington www.solgm.org.nz/Calendar
24 - 25 Governance for Local Government Professionals Forum. Chateau on the Park, Christchurch www.solgm.org.nz/Calendar
19 - 21 LGNZ Conference 2015. Rotorua Energy Events Centre www.lgnz.co.nz 27 - 28 2015 ALGIM Information Management / Records Symposium. Venue TBC www.algim.org.nz/algim-events/ 30 - Aug 1 ACENZ Annual Conference 2015. Hanmer Springs www.acenz.org.nz/
SEPTEMBER 15 - 18 Coasts and Ports 2015 Conference. Pullman Hotel, Auckland www.coastsandports2015.com/ 16 - 18 Water New Zealand Annual Conference and Expo. Claudelands, Hamilton www.waternzconference.org.nz/
21 - 22 2015 Customer Service Symposium. Venue TBC www.algim.org.nz/algim-events/
17 - 18 SOLGM Community Plan Forum 2015. Chateau on the Park, Christchurch www.solgm.org.nz/Calendar 20 - 21 NZCID Building Nations Symposium. Christchurch www.nzcid.org.nz
Would you like us to include your event in this calendar? Please email details to firstname.lastname@example.org
IMPROVED LIGHTING WITH ENERGY SAVINGS using Orangetek LED luminaires
The United Kingdom have been early adopters of LED technology. Partly due to forward thinking standards adopting the latest findings from CIE and high energy costs across the sectors. A number of substantial projects have been agreed and are being delivered to provide the customers with improved quality of light and significant energy reductions. Leicester City Council are replacing its entire network of existing street lights with new light emitting diode (LED) technology, combined with a central management system to control each LED’s performance. Leicester recognised an opportunity to make substantial savings with its 33,000 street lights. Investigations identified that annual energy savings of around 57% could be achieved,
together with a reduction of 5,350 tonnes of carbon emissions every year (around 20% of the entire council’s target). Currently the installation is ahead of programme and the council is saving nearly 75% of its annual energy use. Rotherham & Barnsley Councils worked together to achieve savings and are currently deploying 36,000 lights without CMS on their streets, they’re still making in excess of 50% savings on both traffic and residential roads. A major commitment by the Mayor of London is to upgrade all of their existing street lighting to LEDs over the next three years, OrangeTek have already supplied around 10% of the network in the north east quadrant. We have achieved approval for both NZTA (M30) and Christchurch, with Auckland approvals in progress.
Auckland Phone: + 64 98 894 466 Email: email@example.com www.orangetek.co.uk MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
IN BRIEF Downer’s brand new look Downer, one of New Zealand’s oldest companies, is introducing a new brand across its operations together with a new brand message: Relationships creating success. CEO of Downer New Zealand Cos Bruyn says the new brand is part of a broader strategy to focus on the success of its customers. He says Downer’s tyre tread symbol has served the company well since it was introduced about 15 years ago but the company is now much more than that. The new Downer brand is being rolled out progressively across the company’s sites, vehicles and uniforms.
Waikato gets transport blueprint Waikato Regional Council’s transport committee gives the tick of approval to a new Regional Land Transport Plan which places completing the Waikato Expressway at the top of the priority list. The plan sets the agenda through to 2045 and gives council and associated interested bodies, including
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NZTA and the NZ Police, one voice with which to speak with central government on major transport issues for the region. Other key priorities include focusing on roads and rail lines that connect the region to its neighbours and contribute to improved freight efficiency. There’s also a focus on
improving safety outcomes, such as reducing safety risks on key roads and advancing speed management. The plan identifies proposed regional transport activities for investment (local and / or central government) over the next six years.
Counting the cost of conflict A recent research study into the extent of conflict in New Zealand workplaces has found that unresolved conflict can substantially erode productivity – whether through increased absenteeism, staff turnover, failure to meet targets, lost business efficiency or damaged business relationships. Commissioned by FairWay Resolution, the study shows conflict can badly affect staff engagement and significantly reduce or even destroy customer satisfaction. Anne Scragg, FairWay’s general manager: professional excellence & innovation, says the cost of unresolved conflict can be extremely high. Conflict arises when the ideas, interests or behaviours of two or more individuals, groups or organisations clash. According to Anne, however, a low level of conflict in organisations is neither unusual nor necessarily negative. Conflict can be a catalyst for positive change by enabling constructive discussion and challenging the status quo. It can become negative when it is left unmanaged and escalates to the point where the parties involved become inflexible and adversarial in their positions, and a climate of distrust and suspicion develops. Anne adds that in many organisations, conflict management is seen in the context of corporate grievance and discipline policies or in the case of external disputes to litigation. In terms of quality assurance, however, conflict management can constitute a “process” of the organisation that can be analysed, defined, costed, measured, controlled and improved along with all the other strategic processes of the organisation. “Some organisations may need to seek external help with reviewing existing complaints and disputes processes and possibly designing and implementing new processes and systems to meet their unique needs,” she says. “The aim is to integrate conflict management into the proactive strategic management of an organisation rather than organisations responding to conflict reactively on an ad hoc basis when it arises.”
Anne says every organisation will want to build its own internal conflict management capability but some may need some initial external assistance with this. Local government organisations have a critical role in supporting the government’s Better Local Government programme and meeting the requirements set out in the Local Government Act 2002 and the Amendment Act 2014. Lifting the performance and responsiveness of local authorities to the needs of communities is a key objective. According to Anne, if conflict within a local government organisation or between a local government organisation and its community, is managed appropriately and cost-effectively, the potential benefits include lower financial cost, better internal and community relationships, greater public trust and confidence in local government and alignment with central government’s public service and economic goals. “So having sound conflict management policies and practices in place therefore seems a prudent and worthwhile investment.”
NEW ZEALAND’S LEADING MANUFACTURER & SUPPLIER OF ROAD & AREA LIGHTING. With more than 40 years experience we are the only street lighting company in New Zealand that has local design and manufacturing capabilities. Betacom is focussed on developing a range of quality, competitive energy saving LED luminaires designed for local conditions and standards. Betacom has recently purchased New Zealand’s only automated Goniophotometer for our photometric laboratory. And an award winning robotic assembly system to provide additional capacity. Maintaining Betacoms reputation as a committed and long term manufacturer and supplier to New Zealand’s road lighting sector.
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MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
IN BRIEF Free Contractor magazine newsletter
Building NZ’s Infrastructure Plan
Local Government Magazine’s sister publication Contractor has just released the first of its new free monthly enewsletters. Contractor magazine newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with the important changes and issues in New Zealand’s contracting industry. To subscribe, just email email@example.com
The National Infrastructure Unit (NIU) says the 250 or so stakeholders who attended the recent New Zealand Infrastructure Forum in Wellington identified the following four items as priorities: • Leadership and decision-making, skills, information, long-term focus and the need for infrastructure champions; • Data and asset management, including the importance of national meta-data standards; • Regional collaboration and integration, both planning and funding; and • Establishing a strong value proposition before investing, and the capability and tools for doing this. “The overriding message from participants was that to take infrastructure to the next level, we need to think differently about governance arrangements,” says the NIU in a recent newsletter. “This may be about clarifying roles and responsibilities or understanding how our systems and institutions operate and what are the incentives and behaviours they promote and reinforce.” The NIU has been following up with a series of workshops around the country so that it can capture and include regional perspectives in its “fast developing” 2015 New Zealand Infrastructure Plan.
FairWay Resolution Facilitation — helping councils get better outcomes
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Tauranga readies for electronic tolling Two high-tech electronic tolling gantries, the first of their kind in New Zealand, will be operational on key routes in Tauranga this year. One of the nine-metre high electronic tolling gantries has been installed on the Tauranga Eastern Link (TEL) ahead of the official opening of the motorway later this year. The second toll gantry is being built on Tauranga’s Route K (Takitimu Drive) this month, in preparation for when the Transport Agency takes ownership of the road from Tauranga City Council in July. The NZ Transport Agency’s Waikato / Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson says both of the new toll points are single gantry, multi-lane free flow systems, the first of their kind in New Zealand. The TEL is one of seven Roads of National Significance (RoNS) based around New Zealand’s five largest population centres. Light vehicles using the TEL will pay $2 and heavy vehicles $5. The Route K toll tariff will be $1.80 and $4.80 after July 2015. The new tolling system is expected to be operational in early July, ahead of the TEL being opened and Route K being electronically tolled.
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Down to business Rotorua Lakes Council is pulling together a team of business leaders to form an economic growth steering group to help unleash Rotorua’s economic potential. The move follows discussions at the recent 2015 Rotorua Business Leaders’ Forum. The make-up of the steering group will mean economic direction is community-driven with support from the council. The group will look into developing an economic growth strategy to support the district’s Rotorua 2030 vision.
Why focusing on process is the best policy Waikato District Council recently addressed several challenges around policy management and shared its lessons learned with other councils in a webinar. Quality management coordinator Joan Whittaker explained Waikato’s approach and how it creates, implements and communicates new and updated policies to staff and councillors. Those processes are now available via the Local Government Shared Process Library, created and maintained by Promapp. For more information visit: promapp.com/lg-shared-process-library. You can access a recording of the webinar on bit.ly/1ECokNQ
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MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
IN BRIEF Fishing for feedback The South East Marine Protection Forum is currently seeking comment on the community’s long-term vision for the coastline from Timaru to Waipapa Point at the southern end of the Catlins region. This stretch of the coastline and coastal marine environment is covered by nine councils: Timaru and Waimate Districts, Environment Canterbury, Waitaki District, Dunedin City, Clutha District, Otago Regional Council, Southland District and Environment Southland. The three regional councils have regional plans and policies that cover the territorial waters of the coastal marine environment, while the district plans and policies of the six district or city councils include provisions for using, developing and protecting coastal lands. Each of these councils has an interest in recreation, biodiversity protection and economic development through tourism and other sectors. Established to consult widely on protection options and tools, and to make recommendations to government by June 2016, the forum is made up of 14 representatives from a range of groups including environmental, recreational and commercial fishers and the broader community. The forum has recently started reaching out to the broadest range of marine users to gather information and feedback about what is important to them. This means that when it comes time to sit around the table – taking into account public requirements, expert advice and scientific evidence – the forum will come up with a recommendation that will be informed by as many users as possible. This bottom-up approach means that any recommendation has been made with community input and should therefore be the most acceptable solution with the least negative impact. A series of public meetings will continue for the next eight months or so, with opportunities for groups and individuals to ask questions and make statements about what is important to them. People are also invited to take part in a questionnaire that appears on the website and which utilises a unique mapping technology called Seasketch. Using this tool, visitors to the Seasketch site can see what sort of biodiversity occurs in what regions and can map and comment on the area of the coast that is important to them.
As the process continues Seasketch will be opened for more and more users and will provide valuable information in the recommendation process. For more information and to take part in the questionnaire: www.south-eastmarine.org.nz www.facebook.com/southeastmarine 0800 Our Say (0800 687 729)
Concrete corrosion training The Australasian Corrosion Association (ACA) – in conjunction with the Australasian Concrete Repair Association (ACRA) – is holding training courses in Adelaide in August and Perth in September. The courses are aimed at, among others, asset managers, port engineers, bridge maintenance managers, building managers, heritage structure engineers, plant engineers,
consulting engineers, architects and asset condition inspectors. Corrosion affects all concrete buildings and structures which deteriorate at varying rates over time, depending on the material used, the types of corrosive agents in the environment, and the physical processes and mechanisms involved. More information on www.corrosion.com.au
From brothers in arms to sister cities One hundred years after their people met as foes on the battleground of Gallipoli, the city of Wellington and Çanakkale in Turkey are formally symbolising a friendly future. Wellington City Council has agreed to
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partner with Çanakkale for a historical sister city relationship, as a gesture to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War One and to honour the friendship between the people of New Zealand and Turkey.
The Çanakkale province in Turkey is where the Gallipoli Peninsula is located. The council will sign an MOU with the Çanakkale Municipality formalising the relationship. No additional funding will be required.
A new joint initiative from international water and environment experts DHI and Auckland Council has recently gone online to the public. The Auckland Bathing Water Forecast (ABWF) is designed to provide forecasts of bathing suitability for central Auckland for up to three days. Recent high test results from some of the monitored beaches indicate that the innovative system is needed. The popular Takapuna North Shore beach was earlier this year closed to the public due to poor water quality. Dr Jarrod Walker, a senior marine scientist from Auckland Council and one of the main drivers behind the initiative, says the enterprise is beneficial for planning. “With the model, you can jump online on a Friday afternoon and see that the beach is safe now and over the weekend.” The ABWF uses data gathered data from a variety of sources including Met Service, Auckland Council and the National Centre for Environmental Prediction. Tidal and winddriven currents in the Waitemata Harbour are simulated in a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model developed by DHI.
Photo courtesy of Auckland Council
Key overflows in the vicinity of central city bathing beaches, which are a significant source of pollutants to the harbour, have been identified and a relationship between rainfall and overflows with associated enterococci has been calculated. Concerned water users clicking through to the site will see a series of flags indicating trigger levels for swimmer safety. The flags,
which are in accordance with Ministry for Environment Recreational guidelines, pop up with a window displaying the water quality. Although the model does not account for pollutants associated with dry weather overflows or re-suspension of bacteria-laden sediments, it does give residents a significant indication of whether or not to go for that swim they were planning after wet-weather events.
Healthy development Enterprise software provider Jonas Leisure has launched a new software system designed specifically for managing leisure and recreation centres. Released at the recent Australian Fitness & Health Expo in Melbourne, Envibe streamlines the customerfacing processes for staff managing members, bookings, courses and admissions at aquatic, recreation and leisure centres.
Lighting the way Christchurch-based local manufacturer Betacom has just invested in a new type C goniophotometer for its independentlyaccredited photometric laboratory. The device provides multiple capabilities allowing Betacom to measure the luminous flux, luminous intensity distribution and colour of road luminaires. The new device supports the design and development of new LED-based products and improvements to existing products.
Betacom has also commissioned a local automation company to design and build a robotic assembly system for the production of LED luminaires. This system, which is now operational, recently won an award for best application in the Asia Pacific region. The company has also recently added a new production line dedicated to the production of LED luminaires. Betacom has partnered with a local finance company to offer funding solutions to local government for bulk upgrades to
LED. Finance can include both the cost of the luminaires and installation costs. Previously known as Gough Technology, Betacom has over 40 years’ experience supporting New Zealand’s road lighting sector. It has partnerships with key suppliers of LED componentry including Cree and Phillips. Its product design focuses specifically on the requirements of the New Zealand market with an emphasis on cost-effective, reliable, lightweight luminaires that are easy to install. MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
Around the councils Rotorua’s public toilets in The Redwoods forest receive international recognition for the structures’ designer Darryl Church Architecture. The Rotorua-based business is selected as one of six finalists in the 2014 World Architecture News (WAN) Small Spaces Awards, won by a Vietnamese architectural firm. The toilets are the result of a collaborative partnership between ROTORUA LAKES COUNCIL, Darryl Church, iwi and screen artist Kereama Taepa. The cubicles were conceived as individual cylinders of corten steel, integrated with elements of storytelling and Māori art.
NEW PLYMOUTH DISTRICT COUNCIL launches MyRates, a new interactive website, as part of consultation on its proposed Long-term Plan (LTP) 2015-2025. The site allows people to include or exclude key proposals in the LTP then see the effect their choices would have on their property’s rates. The move shifts conversations from generic average rates to the potential impact on an individual rates bill. It works for all ratepayers
CLUTHA DISTRICT COUNCIL awards to Fulton Hogan the main construction contract to upgrade Balclutha’s main street for a price of $2.3 million. Mayor Bryan Cadogan says this is a watershed day for the district after a generation of debating what to do with Balclutha’s main street. The New Zealand Transport Agency confirms it will contribute $200,000 towards the street lighting. The first stage of work includes the upgrade of the main street running between George and Renfrew Streets and the work planned for the Elizabeth Street town heart and the John Street intersection. Work is expected to be completed by the end of November this year.
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CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL revamps how it manages its social housing. It’s been inviting organisations to join it in setting up a new community housing provider (CHP). The new, non-profit entity will manage the council’s approximately 2200 open social housing units and help to access extra revenue for the service via the government’s Income-Related Rent Subsidy (IRRS). The council will hold up to a 49 percent share in the CHP, with the remaining share made up of third-party stakeholders selected after the tendering process closed at the end of April. The council will retain full ownership of its social housing under the new structure and says it expects the new CHP to be up and running by the start of July this year.
whether they’re residents, smallholders, farm or business owners. MyRates users could also choose to have their selections recorded and sent to the mayor and councillors for consideration when finalising the LTP in June. New Plymouth District Council closed its LTP consultation period on April 24 but is keeping MyRates as a handy tool for homeowners to check their property’s rates at any time. MyRates is on myrates.npdc.nz
CHRISTCHURCH CITY councillors take on a bunch of Christchurch’s finest sports stars in a game of five-a-side futsal at the official FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 Futsal Court at Burnside High School. The players include: councillors Yani Johanson, Raf Manji, Glenn Livingstone and Ali Jones, plus former All White Aaron Clapham and Canterbury Kings cricketing all-rounder Andrew Ellis, with the official mascot for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015, ‘Wool-i-am’, on the sidelines.
WELLINGTON CITY COUNCIL forges ahead with its virtual ward meetings. Wellingtonians can use social media channels Twitter and Facebook to ask the council and councillors questions about the draft 10-year plan and have them answered in real-time. The council is also holding traditional ward meetings.
already include TXT-a-Park, Phone2park and Snapper payments. Council staff will be on hand to help explain the new parking system and how to make payments.The Allen Street trial runs until the end of June. Subject to the outcome of the trial and funding approval as part of the Long-term Plan process, parking sensors will be rolled out across Wellington in 2016.
ROTORUA LAKES COUNCIL says two new economic reports confirm positive progress for Rotorua’s economy in the immediate and longer term. In short, the reports, by two independent national economic research consultancies – Infometrics and BERL – show retail sales are up, international visitor spends have escalated, people are returning home from overseas for better job prospects, forestry export prices are recovering and unemployment is trending down.
Photo by Justine Hall for Wellington City Council.
WELLINGTON CITY COUNCIL steps up its “pay and walk away” parking trial. People parking in the central city’s Allen Street can enter their parking space number at the pay machine and head off without having to go back to their car to place a ticket on their dashboard. The parking sensor technology is part of council’s roll-out of smart city innovations that
WAIKATO REGIONAL COUNCIL signs a revised memorandum of understanding with the University of Waikato on joint strategic work. The two parties will kick off by focusing on regional economic development, and fresh water science and management. The agreement sets out five-year plans for both focus areas. Future collaboration may include support for the Waikato AgriHub, and researching opportunities and challenges for the region. The agreement was revised following changes in leadership within both organisations over the past 18 months.
0800 93 7473
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
EVENTS The New Zealand round of the 2015 LGMA Management Challenge
1. Rotorua Lakes Council’s “Pumanawa Rotorua” team: Rob Pitkethley, Julianne Wilkinson, Valeta Duncan, Kurt Williams, Emma Sayers & Portia McKenzie. 2. The Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s “Toi’s Challengers” team: Matthew Harrex, Cathy Stephenson, Ally Huang, Emily Rogers, Stephanie MacDonald & Glen Clarkin. 3. Jeanette Bullen (SOLGM) & Glenn Snelgrove (chief challenge facilitator).
4. Gavin Turley (Civica) & Natalie Stevens (SOLGM). 5. Whakatane District Council’s “Whakaari Force” team. 6. Katherine Davies, Lauren Donnelly & Petr Polivka (all from Queenstown Lakes District Council’s “Cardrona Surf Club” team). 7. Kevin Dresser (Hastings District Council). 8. Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s “Bountiful Bay Battlers” (front row) & some of the Rotorua Lakes Council team (behind). 9. Myles Lind & Erin Moogan (both from Queenstown Lakes District Council’s “Cardrona Surf Club” team) with Celia Bowles & Stuart Goodman (from Tauranga City Council’s “Blue Sky” team).
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FYI: ITO now covers H2O Just add water. Connexis expands its industry coverage
nfrastructure industry training organisation (ITO) Connexis is broadening its industry coverage to include infrastructure-related water industry training. The move will see water treatment, wastewater treatment and water reticulation trades included in Connexis qualifications and service coverage, and has been widely welcomed within the industry. The change will result in a number of benefits for customers and infrastructure asset owners including local government. Customers can expect an enhanced level of service with increased support from the nationwide Connexis field team. In addition, customers working in the wider infrastructure space will now be able to have most, if not all, of their training needs met by one organisation, rather than dealing with multiple ITOs. The Connexis field team has undertaken preparation for its new role including attending a familiarisation day hosted by Opus and New Zealand Water and Environment Training Academy (NZWETA) at the Opus Environmental Training Centre premises in Petone, where national water qualifications have been provided continuously for more than 60 years. The team will be supported by water training consultants Martyn Simpson and Nigel Hesford, who have over 50 years of industry experience between them. Connexis chief executive Helmut Modlik says customers will continue to receive everything they have had in the past – top quality training and expert support. “However, they will now also have the opportunity for their staff to be coordinated and supported in their learning by a much larger field team, who can provide a greater level of personal contact and support.” Helmut adds that the addition of water represents the first step since the creation of Connexis to fulfil its vision
to become the ITO to service the wider infrastructure industry. “Most other ITOs serve disparate industry groups, which presents a range of challenges for them and their customers. When Connexis was established, directors made the conscious decision to focus solely on the infrastructure domain, the horizontal built environment. “This means Connexis knows the infrastructure space and is very clear and focused on the issues facing our customers and asset owners. Our aspiration is to be the ITO of choice for employers in infrastructure, and the addition of the 3-Water industries is an important step in that direction.” Annie Yeates, water industry training manager, says the merger comes at an exciting time in the water industry.
“Water reticulation in particular is a huge growth area at present, and now that infrastructure sits within one ITO we can plan an integrated approach to developing training in areas such as the management of stormwater. “Now that the future of water industry training has been decided, we’ll be in a position to develop new training programmes,” she says. Yeates adds, “Integrating water into the Connexis portfolio will enable us to build a bigger vocational pathway for the infrastructure industry. There will be enhanced career prospects for water professionals, with opportunities for progression linked to qualifications such as the National Diploma in Infrastructure Asset Management and New Zealand Diploma in Engineering Practice.” LG
• More information on www.connexis.org.nz or call 0800 486 626. MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
Smart people: Smart councils What makes a good local government leader? And how can we help the next cohort develop to their full potential? The LGMA Management Challenge sets out to do just that. Ruth Le Pla spent time behind the scenes with some of the best emerging local government leaders in the country.
t’s easy to both admire and sometimes feel sorry for the senior officers who have to deal with the pressure-cooker demands of real-life local government. So add in an extra dollop of admiration for the up-and-coming young leaders who submit themselves to the simulated demands of the LGMA Management Challenge. This is where some of our sector’s best and brightest young officers pit themselves against each other in an annual fullday flurry of demanding tasks that would test the mettle of our sector’s most experienced CEs. It’s all part of a SOLGM-run management challenge that simulates the fish-hooks and hiccups of real-life demands on local government managers. It weeds out just one team of five or six mid-level officers to represent New Zealand in Melbourne in June. There they will compete against the Australian state finalists for the overall Australasian LGMA trophy. Most importantly, smart councils are tying the challenge to much wider strategic priorities. Glenn Snelgrove is chief
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facilitator (aka judge) and former CE of Western Bay of Plenty District Council. He says savvy councils are also involving huge parts of their organisation in learning alongside, prepping and backing their teams. And they’re using the management challenge as both an incentive and a reward for their up-and-coming young leaders. Throw in the added excitement of nine Kiwi teams facing off against 104 Australian ones, and it’s clear there’s plenty at stake. Kiwi teams have scored disproportionately well in recent years. Hastings District Council won the Australasian finals in 2012. Western Bay of Plenty District Council won in 2013. And last year our team from Whakatane District Council came a close second to the Aussies from Warrnambool City Council.
TELLING TASKS This year’s New Zealand play-off is held at the cavernous Trentham Gardens racecourse. Some details of the teams’ tasks must remain under wraps for now. So let’s just say
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT Tauranga City Council’s 'Team Blue Sky' wins the New Zealand leg of the LGMA Australasian Management Challenge, sponsored by Civica. The judges say the team impresses with its “well-organised and very professional approach and demonstrates the qualities of a great team – leadership that encourages collaboration and team members that contribute effectively”. Mentored by Emlyn Hatch the team members are: Amanda McFadden, venues & admin co-ordinator; Celia Bowles, planning engineer, water (and Team Blue Sky’s team leader); Joanna Thomas, team leader, library customer; Megan Davies, senior HR planner; Stuart Goodman, team leader, bylaws and parking; and Tracy Plane, corporate policy planner.
1. Hauraki District Council's ‘Hauraki Hikoi’ team. 2. Hastings District Council's ‘Imagineers’ team.
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY As part of the LGMA Management challenge, Local Government Magazine ran a miniinterview session with the council’s team leaders. What had they learnt so far in preparing for the challenge? And when had they and their teams stepped outside their comfort zone? Wendy Harris, senior planner, Hauraki District Council It’s been about getting the team together and learning about each individual. You may know the people at the council but your paths or roles don’t cross on a day-to-day basis so you don’t know them that well or what they’re capable of. And often they don’t know that well what they’re capable of either. Throwing them into a situation where they’re doing things that are outside their comfort zone, just gives them a lot more confidence. They realise they can do a debate, even though the last time they maybe did one they
were 13 years old and at school. They realise they can prepare a report in one hour if they need to. They think, “I can crank it out because I’ve just got to.”
outside of our comfort zone and to see where we might have skills we never realised we had. Exploring the potential in people has been really exciting and great to see.
Stephanie MacDonald, community engagement advisor, Bay of Plenty Regional Council The challenge gives people the courage to try things they wouldn’t otherwise do. When we did a mock challenge one of our staff members was put up for an interview because he was the only person available at the time. He did a fantastic job but it wasn’t something he had expected would be a strength of his. That was really great to see.
Portia McKenzie, senior lead advisor strategy, Rotorua Lakes Council We’ve just been through a massive restructure. So it’s good to get away from the office and our day jobs and think about where we’re going as a team and what we can learn that’s new as well as what we’ve already got.
Celia Bowles, planning engineer – water, Tauranga City Council I don’t have a team leader role within my day job so the challenge has given me the opportunity to explore that in a safe environment and to see where my skills lie. We’ve all been able to go
3. Glenn Snelgrove... this is much more than a one-off game.
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Kumaren Perumal, manager finance, Waipa District Council It was interesting seeing our team handle the creative aspect of developing a video. We tended to just fall into natural skill sets which we didn’t even realise we had. One of the team members got into video editing and building up the core story board. And I stepped into director mode and started chopping and changing
that in the previous year teams had to speed date (not what you think), write a report, make a presentation, design a council website homepage, write a blog and take part in a facilitated discussion. They must juggle multiple tasks. Smile for the camera. And somehow appear calm and professional. It’s reallife local government on double-quick time. This year, an unsettling barrage of instructions appears deliberately obtuse at times: toothcomb-accurate at others. An unexpected media interview (aka me) gets thrown in, timed to draw leaders away from their teams at a critical time. (It wasn’t my idea. But I still feel it was a fiendishly cruel albeit highly effective test.) Right from the start, Glenn Snelgrove urges the participants to focus on lateral and creative thinking, originality and innovation. Most teams front up with a homemade poster declaring their carefullypenned team values: usually focused on listening to each other, playing to their strengths and working as a team. In a day-long blur of laptops, whiteboards, marker pens and coloured
sequences. It just flowed naturally. When we finished and looked at the final product we couldn’t believe we’d done it. We were just tapping into unknown skills that we had and that was quite a revelation for many of us. Catherine Ball, senior strategic policy analyst, Whakatane District Council I had quite a drastic realisation about how differently people think. Quite often I’d find myself going down a thought process with the team and realised that I wasn’t taking them with me because they had quite a different way of looking at things. For me, it was really interesting to see how people look at things, attack tasks, plan and approach things in a different way. It was definitely a big realisation for me that we really are all different. Christine Busby, team leader customer and library, Western Bay of Plenty District Council I’m not based in our head office: I’m based in Te
sticky notes, timelines get fine-sliced into five-minute intervals, roles chop and change, and observers barrel in and out of team rooms. It demands nerve, verve and splitsecond timing. There’s no quarter given for mistakes. No second chances. Tauranga City Council’s “Team Blue Sky”, emerges as the winning team, completing the tasks with quiet and stylish flair. (See box story “The sky’s the limit”.) They’re off to Melbourne in June.
Puke. So it’s been amazing for me to spend more time in head office and meet people that I haven’t had day-to-day interactions with before. I lead a team of people in Te Puke. But the way that we operate as a team for the management challenge has meant I’ve been leading two completely different teams through different scenarios. It’s been such an amazing learning experience to see which different types of leadership skills you need to use to get one team motivated compared with another team and how much steering they need. Megan Gaffaney, senior environmental planner (policy), Hastings District Council It’s been quite a challenge to get the processes right – especially within that first 10 minutes [of doing any task]. Streamlining, co-ordinating and handling multiple tasks at the same time has been a great learning experience. It’s revealed people’s skills.
BIG BENEFITS To Glenn Snelgrove, the event is much more than a one-off game. Back when he was CE of Western Bay of Plenty District Council, for example, his winning team was hand-picked as part of a wider council-wide HR employment strategy. The challenge team members were third-tier high performers. Selection onto the team was seen as both a reward and an opportunity for further development.
It’s been quite revealing of people’s personalities and vulnerabilities too. We work through them together and make sure everybody feels confident at the end of it all. Myles Lind, asset planning manager, Queenstown Lakes District Council It’s been a fantastic process for us. It has enabled people to work with each other in a different environment. One plus one now equals three here. We’re doing things that we didn’t know we could do. Personally, one of the challenges has been that I’m the oldie in my team by a mile. There’s about a 10 year gap to the next oldest team member and the way they think is massively different to people my age. At work I’m a manager. Here I’m a leader and a collaborator. That’s been a fantastic challenge for me as well.
“The team probably spent about 50 or 60 hours together prepping for the challenge,” he says, “and we involved the whole organisation.” Non-team members set up mock challenges for the team which they did in their own time, often during lunch breaks. “It was an organisational approach,” says Glenn. After the challenge, Glenn got his team to bed the benefits back into the organisation by sharing what they had learnt with all staff and council members.
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MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
MANAGEMENT MANAGER, RELATIONSHIP-BUILDER, CUSTODIAN The role of senior managers in local government is rapidly changing, says Gavin Turley. “So now, more than ever, we need to ensure emerging leaders in the sector are professional and skilled, equipped to tackle challenges, transform services and deliver for their communities.” Gavin is regional manager, New Zealand, local government solutions, at Civica which provides specialist systems and business process services to the sector. “There are a host of challenges facing local government leaders and managers in the 21st century,” he says, “delivering services, greater community aspirations, lack of finance, managing staff, engaging citizens, best use of social media, forming new partnerships; and rapidly-evolving technologies and socio-economic demographics. “And to top it off, they have to contend with the government wading in to change things on the fly.” Gavin has been involved in the local government sector since 1983: working for many years for a number of local authorities and later becoming part of the supplier community. Civica sponsors the LGMA Management Challenge. In a short speech to the challenge teams, Gavin says Fortune magazine recently
He is emphatic that the challenge activity played a big part in lifting staff productivity across the whole organisation by a whopping 25 percent. Over the years he’s seen similar dynamics play out across other local authorities. “You get people from different parts of the organisation coming together,” he says, “so there’s a learning and development process about how the organisation works. It’s about breaking down the silos and understanding cross-departmental issues.” He’s seen teams rehearsing by taking up challenges from previous years and teams mentoring each other. He’s even seen one council that’s done reasonably well in the past helping another council that’s entering the challenge for the first time.
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stated that the most valuable people today are increasingly relationship builders. “Remember, being an effective manager and leader is something you learn.” Talking with Local Government Magazine later he says emerging leaders need to have a deep understanding of their community and of how the different parts of their council fit together. “A local authority is made up of 15 or so completely separate businesses... When people talk about how businesses should stick to their knitting, in local government we have about 15 different knitting patterns.”
“And all of that builds collaboration within local government.” Such big-picture collaborative thinking, he reckons, is a key factor in Kiwi teams’ disproportionately high success rate to date over the Tasman. “In New Zealand we put our teams under a lot more scrutiny than they do in Australia and we have a different attitude,” he says. “Our teams don’t see entering as just about winning the challenge but also as a way to learn new skills and develop careers.” (Also see the box story ”A voyage of discovery” for 2015 team leaders’ comments on some of their learnings so far.) Such close collaborative sharing between teams may help explain why most of this year’s Kiwi teams are from a geographic cluster around
He suggests mid-tier managers learn as much as possible about other parts of their organisation. He also says local government would benefit from helping talkback hosts better understand how the sector works as many show considerable antipathy towards it. “The public needs to understand that councils are not just looking after hundreds of thousands of dollars of spend but also millions of dollars worth of assets. And that requires a very different mindset. “That’s the key to understanding what local government is about,” he says. “Local government is a custodian too.”
the Hawkes Bay / Bay of Plenty area. (Queenstown Lakes District Council – the only group from the other side of the Cook Strait – jauntily declared itself the South Island winner.) Glenn encourages other local authorities to enter the challenge saying that at around $4900 to put forward a team of around six members it’s the best value for money they’ll get for any training. “They get a complete day of immersion in one of the most competitive environments for local government that makes them really think hard.” As he says: “If you want to raise the value proposition of local government in New Zealand, invest in your staff. And this is a very cost-effective way of doing it.” LG
Top projects The recent McGredy Winder 2015 SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards celebrate some of the sector’s best-managed projects.
elwyn District Council’s Project Helix, which led to the creation of an end-to-end online building consenting system, takes home the supreme award at the 2015 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards. Judges praise it as “an outstanding example of the local government sector’s ability to develop and implement solutions at a
national level”. Selwyn District Council received the award at SOLGM’s inaugural gala dinner in Wellington recently. All entries were judged on a range of criteria including the strategic context within which the work was done, project and relationship management, continuous improvement and the ultimate success of the project.
SUPREME AWARD & TRANSFORMING SERVICE DELIVERY AWARD
WINNER: Selwyn District Council’s Project Helix. Project Helix led to the development of an end-to-end, cloud-based building consenting system in partnership with the private sector. THE JUDGES SAID: This tool was developed at a time of unprecedented demand and has transformed the way building
consenting can be delivered. Project Helix has already demonstrated it is applicable to the sector as a whole. The approach taken here should also serve as an example to central government regarding the sector’s capacity to develop and implement solutions to a nationwide issue.
Ian Butler, Vanessa Beavon, David Ward & Keith Smith (all from Selwyn District Council).
JOINED UP LOCAL GOVERNMENT AWARD
WINNER: Environment Canterbury on behalf of the Combined Health and Environmental Risks Programme Control Group: Canterbury’s Waste and Environmental Management Team (WEMT). The WEMT is a cross-governmental approach to proactively managing the major environmental risks created by disposal of 8.75 million tonnes of earthquake-related waste. The WEMT initially involved Environment Canterbury, CERA, and the Christchurch, Selwyn and Waimakariri councils. It is understood that membership has expanded since.
THE JUDGES SAID: The WEMT approach is an impressive demonstration of the power that sharing information, flexibility and openness can bring to solving large-scale issues. We note the model’s wider applicability to regulatory, monitoring and waste management.
Anne Columbus (Christchurch City Council) & Don Chittock (Environment Canterbury).
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
BUILDING ORGANISATIONAL CAPABILITY AWARD
WINNER: National Environmental Monitoring Standards – submitted by Auckland Council on behalf of the NEMS Group. For decades there has been a growing divergence throughout the country on how environmental measurements are taken. This arose through a lack of common measurement standards and a lack of consensus on what constitutes bestpractice monitoring. NEMS has produced national standards, best practice to achieve standards, and the documents to support them. This enables comparable, quality data, and standard practice for reporting. NEMS is an initiative generated by local government working in conjunction with agencies such as NIWA and the Ministry for the Environment. NEMS has received international recognition as a world first – in that monitoring
standards in other countries are developed by central government and imposed on other levels of government. THE JUDGES SAID: Water and water quality are significant national policy issues. The development of these standards is an extremely successful cross-governmental approach to developing environmental standards that, to date, is unique and has been internationally recognised. We are impressed by the steps the group has taken to promote use of the standards and develop sector understanding. NEMS’ work is a great exemplar of capability building at the system level. This entry also represents an exemplar of the continuous improvement ethos.
Simon Tredgett (Auckland Council).
COUNCIL COMMUNITY RELATIONS AWARD
WINNER: Gisborne District Council – Gigatown. Gisborne District was an entrant in the Gigatown competition – eventually finishing second to Dunedin. This entry describes how Gisborne was able to mobilise its community through the Gigatown project to the extent that it came close to surpassing another competitor that was several times its size. As importantly, it describes how council and the community have used the relationships built to make gains in other areas.
THE JUDGES SAID: This is an exemplar for its engagement with groups with which it can be difficult to engage, and for its ability to harness these relationships to gain momentum in areas such as economic development and education. This entry demonstrates the importance of setting challenging goals, managing a project successfully and being prepared to go to the grassroots.
Judy Campbell & Barry Vryenhoek (Gisborne District Council).
B ROOKFIELDS ENVIRONMENTAL
LEADERSHIP AND SUSTAINABILITY AWARD
WINNER: Tui Mine Remediation – Waikato Regional Council. Media have historically referred to the Tui Mine near Te Aroha, its nearby tailings dam, and two nearby streams as “New Zealand’s most contaminated site”. The remediation is understood to be the first of its kind in New Zealand and took around 160,000 hours to plan, manage and deliver. The project has cleaned up the streams to the extent that aquatic life is returning and the two streams
should be safe for swimming within 15 years. THE JUDGES SAID: This is a meticulouslyplanned and executed approach to a multiyear, multimillion-dollar project involving multiple delivery agents, stakeholders and risk factors. The collaborative and phased approach to the remediation provides lessons for others facing legacy issues of this nature.
Linda O’Reilly (Brookfields Lawyers), Ghassan Basheer & Clare Crickett (both from Waikato Regional Council).
Helen Algar, consultant, representing IPANZ
THE JUDGING PANEL
Lyn Provost, controller & auditor-general, OAG Glenn Snelgrove, consultant and former chief executive of Western Bay of Plenty District Council Natalie Stevens, manager learning and development, SOLGM Peter Winder, director, McGredy Winder
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Both Peter Winder and Lyn Provost declared conflicts of interest in, and did not mark, the two entries from Kaipara District Council. Peter also declared a conflict of interest in, and did not mark, the entry from Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Congratulations to the following local government managers: 2015 SOLGM OVERSEAS MANAGER EXCHANGES
2015 SOLGM LEADERSHIP SCHOLARSHIPS
United States Exchange Sponsored by Civic Assurance Anusha Guler, manager democratic services, Wellington City Council Australia, New South Wales Exchange Sponsored by JLT Jamie Cox, engineering manager, Wairoa District Council
Leadership Development Centre Leadership in Practice Programme Steven May, environmental services manager, Grey District Council
British Columbia, Canada Exchange Sponsored by JLT Mark Bruhn, manager parks, New Plymouth District Council
2 These recipients get to further develop their management skills and career in local government through a short exchange with a partner manager in another country.
Mt Eliza Business School Leadership Development Programme Sponsored by The Skills Organisation Tanya Winter, chief executive, Westland District Council
1. Jamie Cox (Wairoa District Council). 2. Garry Fissenden (The Skills Organisation) & Tanya Winter (Westland District Council).
Opus â€˜Leading Selfâ€™ Programme Charlotte Almond, strategy and development manager, Wanganui District Council & Ross McCarthy, business transition lead manager, Wellington City Council
Helping You Build NZ
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
BRUCE ROBERTSON On being a quiet voice for local government Bruce Robertson has spent a career working with numbers. Now assistant auditor-general, local government, at the Office of the AuditorGeneral, he talks with Ruth Le Pla about looking behind the figures to help raise some of the big issues facing local government.
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t’s a measure of Bruce Robertson’s commitment to local government that he agrees to talk with me at an impossibly busy time of year for the Office of the Auditor-General. He and his team are donkey-deep in checking over swathes of consultation documents. It’s an intensive and time-constrained process that, as he tells me, doubles the resource the auditors need to put into working with local government. He’d even sent around a preparatory memo, of sorts, to his team about handling the stress. It ran something like, “guys, let’s just remember that we’re all going to come under pressure so let’s feel the love. Can I recommend it’s an hour off for lunch and you go for a run or a walk? And if you can’t do that at least eat some chocolate.” Given that this is from our country’s assistant auditor-general, local government, it strikes me as a masterpiece of Kiwi informality. I say I reckon I’d be reaching for the chocolate option. Bruce laughs and says he almost got to doing that himself. He’s just being kind. Bruce is no couch potato. The very first time I met him I’d spotted a pair of those funny running shoes with separate toes in his office. Not that he uses them now. He says he prefers traditional running shoes. But he’s well known for hitting the hills during his lunch breaks. Exercise does one of two things for him, he says. “It either takes me right away from thinking about work for an hour, or quite often when I’m out there running I get perspective and I solve an issue.” For behind the focus on the figures he’s keen to explore and share the insights
that help move local government forward – which is why he still makes time to get out, listen and present, no matter how busy he may be back at home base. “I can dream up many things from sitting in a seat in Wellington,” he says, “but if it’s not grounded in the reality of what local government is all about, it will be bound to be wrong.” We catch up by the pool at a hotel where he’s just been attending the New Zealand Infrastructure Forum, a significant gathering of diverse parties hopefully inching towards some common ground on the future of our country’s assets including roads and water. Should it eventuate, I’d hazard that such a development would be music to Bruce’s ears. The OAG released its own related report late last year. Bruce sees Water and Roads: Funding and management challenges as a “bit of a watershed” for his Office’s work and thinking on the sector. The Office, he says, has been building up to “a level of clear thinking around infrastructure assets, how they influence the costs and rating structures of local authorities, and how councils have to think about their impact in terms of successive generations – such as do we provide enough for their renewal now?” In any case, he says, being an auditor is a behind-the-scenes kind of job. He gets a lot of his sense of achievement from working with a dedicated team and from providing a good audit service. “Auditing is an interesting exercise in its own right because first and foremost you are inside an organisation and being paid to be sceptical, which is a somewhat negative position to be in.”
PHOTO BY CHRIS TSE
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
MY VIEW BEING BRUCE ROBERTSON Assistant Auditor-General, Local Government, Office of the Auditor-General 2004 – present Deputy Secretary-General, Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) 2009 – present Audit Director, Audit New Zealand 1990 – July 2004 Chair, Audit New Zealand’s specialist Local Government Sector group 2001 – 2004
Audit Manager, Audit New Zealand 1989 – May 1990 Auditor – Senior Supervisor, Audit New Zealand 1981 – 1988 Professional membership, education & other experience includes: • Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA), New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants
• Bachelor of Commerce Majoring in Accounting, 1982, University of Otago • Bachelor of Arts Majoring in History, 1979, University of Otago
EARLY DAYS I get to meet the ‘formed man’, as it were, but at some point you were a young person setting out from school into the big wide world. I can’t imagine you were thinking, “oooh, I’ll do auditing. I’ll join the Office of the Auditor-General”. What was the plan? Ah! There wasn’t a plan. Look, I’m a product of the ’70s when tertiary education was free and you didn’t think too much about what happened after university. What was your degree in? [Sucks in air and laughs.] Well, I’ve got two degrees. I always say the more valuable degree was my history degree. That was my initial degree. But I also very happily got married while I was still at university so I needed a meal ticket and in those days accounting was as good a meal ticket as any other. And I enjoyed it. And now, reflecting on 35 years as an auditor and an accountant, I absolutely loved the choice because the sector I work with is just so fascinating.
But at that stage I had no idea. And this guy said, “Why don’t you come and work for us in the Audit Office?” I had no idea what the Audit Office was. Coming from a family of school teachers, I’d always been aware of the public sector, though. A sense that there is a public service doing things for the community is steeped in my background. So to be an auditor for the ratepayer but also work with organisations that are serving the ratepayer or the taxpayer is interesting. It’s engaging and you’re dealing with the right things. I always say that if you’re going to be an auditor you have to enjoy what your client does. I’m sure it’s part of your role anyway but to what extent has your degree helped you look at the stories behind the figures? I’m a strong believer in a good arts degree because it forces you to think broadly. History... yes, that was just me picking up a
natural interest which I could follow through at university. Interestingly, most of the stuff I now read for pleasure tends to be historical in nature. I overlaid my history major with political science and that’s been incredibly helpful. One of the most encouraging papers I did in political science was looking at utopian literature. The idea is ‘what are we trying to model? How do we want to organise ourselves to be happy?’ So it’s not too big a step to pull that thinking into local and central government. How do we organise ourselves? Why do we have government? Does it deliver happiness? Does it deliver fulfilment? It’s not the only means by which we achieve happiness. But in reality it’s a critical part when you start getting to things like pipes in the ground delivering us water and taking away the waste, or the roads we live on. They’re all part of the way we build our society. That’s a very long way of me coming back to saying, “yes, the arts degree was superb”.
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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.
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photo taken at the 2015 Wings Over Wairarapa over Masterton
In his time, he’s audited everything from councils, to tertiary institutes and hospitals. “I was even doing bunny boards, of all things.” He’s tried to be a “quiet voice” – an independent party providing comments that he hopes will help an organisation think how it could better manage or govern. There’s a pride and “quiet satisfaction” in seeing organisations take the Office’s ideas on board, respect its views and actually do something about them. His current role adds in “a bit more of a visible role to play”, he says. He’s proud of what he calls the simple things. He’s chuffed the Office has been able to give some life to the notion of long-term planning. It’s cornered the idea of “the right debate” – where local authorities focus on a few make-or-break issues for their community. And he’s pleased the sector now knows and happily uses the term. He says his office likes to take a ‘less is more’ approach. It strikes me that he’s a natural mastermind at that particular game. He’s well known for his knack of capturing complex big-picture ideas in simple diagrams. Before my interview, one of his colleagues had suggested we have a side-bet on how long Bruce could talk without drawing me a picture. I’m disappointed it doesn’t happen and that he goes all shy when I give up waiting and, rather absurdly, ask him to draw local government for me in three diagrams. Still, he’s quietly chuffed that one of his drawings – created sitting up in bed at 5.30 one morning – has been picked up and used by IPWEA albeit in a slightly modified form. He says he’s bereft in his new office without a whiteboard on his wall. “Any of my staff members know that when they come in to see me I’ll always have to have a piece of paper and I’ll want to scribble.” Perhaps that’s the teaching genes showing through. Both his parents were teachers, he says, so maybe some of that willingness to share learnings and his ability to stand up in front of a crowd shouldn’t come as a surprise. (Also see box story “Early days”.) In many ways, the OAG must play a Janus role in local government. It must both face towards parliament to which it has a statutory responsibility to report. And it must also face towards local authorities which themselves are accountable to ratepayers as well. “It’s really important that I recognise parliament is the primary vehicle but it’s also important I try and find avenues to take our reports out to the sector,” says Bruce. “So that’s where I’m very grateful for our relationships with LGNZ, SOLGM, IPWEA and other groups in terms of saying ‘this is why we’ve sent this to parliament’.” Ultimately, says Bruce, he tries in the OAG reports to meet a challenge laid down to him many years ago when working on an early freshwater quality report. He tries to add to the quality of the debate within the sector. For Bruce harbours a firm belief that, for the OAG, it is both a privilege and a responsibility to look in on the local government sector and feed back what it observes. LG
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
LOCAL ALCOHOL POLICY APPEALS
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED? Padraig McNamara and Tim Fischer of Simpson Grierson, Auckland, consider the latest case law from the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority in relation to local alcohol policies.
he Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (Act) has now been in full force for almost 18 months. Local alcohol policies (LAPs) are a key feature of the Act. Through a LAP, a territorial authority can set out policies in relation to the location of licensed premises, the issue of further licences in its district or parts of its district, maximum trading hours, discretionary licence conditions and one-way door restrictions. While not mandatory, many territorial authorities have chosen to develop a LAP. The first appeals in relation to those LAPs have now been determined by the Alcohol Regulatory and Licensing Authority (ARLA). So what guidance can be drawn from these decisions by territorial authorities still involved in developing their LAP, or by those considering whether to even embark on that process?
Overview of appeals As at 1 April 2015, there had been three hearings before ARLA in relation to proposed LAPs (PLAPs) and ARLA has released three decisions. The writers represented parties in each of those hearings. The main focus in the appeals and in each of ARLA’s three decisions was the maximum trading hours set out in the PLAP. The appellants and interested parties appearing under section 205 of the Act were the two major supermarket
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chains, national bottle store chains, Hospitality New Zealand (HNZ), the Police and Medical Officers of Health and, in the case of the Wellington appeal, a local residents’ association.
THE TASMAN APPEAL The “unreasonableness” test and on-licence trading hours Section 81 of the Act allows a person who made a submission as part of the special consultative procedure on a draft LAP to appeal to ARLA against any element of the resulting PLAP. The only ground of appeal is that the element is unreasonable in the light of the object of the Act. Under section 83 of the Act, if ARLA is satisfied that an element is unreasonable in light of the object of the Act, it must ask the territorial authority concerned to reconsider the element. The object of the Act, set out in section 4, is essentially twofold: • The sale, supply, and consumption of alcohol should be undertaken safely and responsibly; and • The harm caused by the excessive consumption or inappropriate consumption of alcohol should be minimised. ARLA’s first decision in relation to PLAPs, Hospitality New Zealand Incorporated v Tasman District Council, focused on how the “unreasonableness” test is to be applied. ARLA has since refined its approach to the test in B & M Entertainment & Others v Wellington City Council and Foodstuffs North Island Limited v Thames-Coromandel District Council. The approach can now be summarised as follows: • Appeals are to be heard on a de novo basis; • ARLA will assess the reasonableness or otherwise of an element in a PLAP under appeal from the perspective of an informed, objective bystander;
• Unreasonableness must always be crosschecked against the object of the Act; • The appellant carries the burden of showing that an element is unreasonable in light of the object of the Act, the standard of proof being the balance of probabilities; • If proposed measures are a disproportionate or excessive response to the perceived problems, partial or unequal in their operation between licence holders, manifestly unjust or disclose bad faith, or an oppressive or gratuitous interference with the rights of those affected, they are likely to be unreasonable in light of the object of the Act; • An element of a PLAP which is not authorised by section 77 of the Act is unreasonable in light of the object of the Act; • Where there are no licensed premises in the district exercising hours as extensive as the national default maximum trading hours, the existing trading hours (as distinct from licensed hours) applying in the district will be the starting point; • A territorial authority is not required to be sure that a particular element of its PLAP will minimise alcoholrelated harm, and is entitled to adopt a precautionary approach provided there is an evidential basis supporting it. In Tasman, the sole issue at the hearing (all other issues having been resolved) concerned on-licence trading hours. ARLA found the evidence supporting the council’s proposed maximum trading hours (and in particular 2am closing) to be compelling. This included evidence showing that reduced on-licence trading hours in Motueka had led to a reduction in alcohol-related harm in the town. The impact of earlier closing on patrons did not outweigh the importance of achieving the object of the Act. The HNZ appeal was dismissed.
WELLINGTON APPEALS Success for the appellants and irrelevant considerations The focus in the Wellington appeals was on both on- and off-licence trading hours. While dismissing the Police and health agencies’ appeals on proposed offlicence trading hours, ARLA upheld their
appeals in relation to proposed on-licence trading hours (7am to 5am the next day). This element of the PLAP was found to be unreasonable in light of the object of the Act (and so was referred back to the council for reconsideration) because: • Proposed on-licence conditions in the PLAP were intended to be compulsory, whereas section 77 only allows a LAP to set out discretionary conditions; • The “risk assessment tool” on which the council relied did not and could not form part of the PLAP; • There was compelling evidence from the Police and health agencies that 4am on-licence closing in downtown Wellington was working well; • The PLAP contained policies (such as the creation of a “dynamic central city”) that were not authorised under section 77 of the Act.
THAMES-COROMANDEL APPEAL The precautionary approach The main issue in the ThamesCoromandel District Council case was whether the council’s proposed maximum trading hours for off-licences (7am to 9pm) were unreasonable in light of the object of the Act. The appellant, Foodstuffs, argued that there was no evidence that requiring offlicences to close at 9pm would minimise alcohol-related harm; no causative link between alcohol-related harm and the off-licensed premises that were currently trading past 9pm; and an insufficient evidential basis to justify 9pm closing based on the precautionary principle discussed in the Tasman and Wellington decisions. Foodstuffs argued that 9pm closing would inconvenience shoppers and be a disproportionate response to the perceived problem of alcohol-related harm in the district. ARLA rejected these arguments. The council was entitled to treat the existing trading pattern (under which there was limited off-licence trading past 9pm) as the starting point for its maximum trading hours in the PLAP. Foodstuffs’ arguments did not address how 9pm closing was unreasonable ‘in light of the object of the Act’. And crucially, ARLA found that the council did not need to show a causative link between alcohol-related harm and off-
licence trading after 9pm. This was because the appellant (rather than the council) carries the burden of proof. Further, the council’s circumstantial evidence as to the timing, location, nature and level of alcohol-related harm in the district (which on several indicators was above the national average) was sufficiently strong to provide an evidential basis for a precautionary approach to off-licence trading hours.
Process In late March 2015 ARLA issued a practice note to clarify uncertainty around the process to be followed where, under section 83, ARLA asks a territorial authority to reconsider an element of its PLAP that it has found to be unreasonable in light of the object of the Act. ARLA may deal with a resubmitted element “on the papers” if: • All parties to the original appeal proceedings agree on the terms of the resubmitted element; • ARLA is satisfied that the territorial authority has informed all submitters on the original element in the draft LAP of the terms of the resubmitted element and their participation rights under section 205(2)(d) of the Act; • No parties under section 205(2)(d) or (e) of the Act oppose the element; • ARLA is satisfied that the resubmitted element is not unreasonable in the light of the object of the Act. If one or more of these matters is not present ARLA will hold a public hearing on the resubmitted element.
Conclusion The three ARLA decisions discussed above provide useful guidance as to when an element in a PLAP may be unreasonable in light of the object of the Act, and what evidence will be needed to defend it. They should help territorial authorities who are currently still at the draft LAP stage to identify weaknesses in their policies, where amendments may be needed if the PLAP is to survive likely appeals, and to prepare evidence where appeals cannot be settled. LG • Padraig McNamara is a partner and Tim Fischer a senior associate in the local government and environment group at Simpson Grierson, Auckland.
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
ALL POWER TO
A small community in the Far North is taking charge and winning, says Tania McInnes.
or all the right reasons, New Zealand is starting to take notice of a small community in the Far North. In a district often associated with negative statistics and on the back of a by-election wrought with what’s not working in Northland, Paihia is leading the charge and bucking trends. It is demonstrating what can be achieved when a bunch of passionate, creative and inspired people take charge of their destiny. And it’s hoping to inspire other communities to give it a go. Paihia, with a resident population of around 1700 has, for the second time within a month, received significant national recognition. In February it was named the 2015 Mitre 10 Community of the Year – part of the New Zealander of the Year Awards. Just a few weeks later it was named 2014 Trustpower National Community Awards Supreme Winner. So what has made this community stand out? And why is this important for other New Zealand communities? Simply put – Paihia stopped waiting for someone else to fix its problems. It took responsibility and put words into action. Talk with trustees of Focus Paihia Community Charitable Trust (FPCCT) and they will tell you it’s all about having a common goal, building community spirit and getting your hands dirty. FPCCT got underway in 2009, when a couple of people decided it was time to stop moaning about the state of the town and do something about it. The concept quickly gained local support and Focus Paihia was born. The community
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developed its own vision of where it wanted to be within the first five months. About a year later it launched the Paihia masterplan, an aspirational future concept design for the village. Not long after this, FPCCT was introduced to the concept of ‘placemaking’. Project for Public Spaces describes this as a “quiet movement that reimagines public spaces as the heart of every community”. It’s a transformative approach that inspires people to create and improve their public places. The trust now had a vehicle for making things happen. And things did happen, with great gusto and impressive outcomes. The first project was the renovation over one weekend of an underused and unattractive public space next to the local i-Site. Around 100 volunteers transformed the area with just $5000 provided by the local community board. This first project provided impetus to move onto the next. Within the past three years the ‘ugliest toilet in New Zealand’ has been renovated into a well photographed public commodity (for just $13,500), a swimming pontoon has been launched, a mural painted, a village green overhauled, public seating added, an op shop opened... and the list goes on. All this was achieved by volunteers, who were fed and watered by more volunteers – sometimes for months on end. The biggest and most controversial project to date has been the removal of a well-used public car park. From the word go, the community had clearly indicated
it wanted a people-friendly waterfront. With very limited public space in the CBD, it was decided that the waterfront car park had to go. Not everyone was happy with the idea and the trust ended up in council fighting for the right to remove the car park. The trust had recognised that for things to really change within the village – both physically and in the public perception – something substantial had to happen. If the community could pull it off, the transformation would showcase what can be achieved and encourage future proactive development. Over 250 volunteers spent over 9000 hours transforming this space. Estimated to be worth around $1.3 million commercially, the resulting park was built for $180,000. FPCCT provided around 90 percent of the funding through its sustainable funding sources. The outcome is more than anyone had hoped. And many of those who opposed
1 2 the change have been won over by the success of the space and become involved with other projects. It was the creation of the park that saw the trust win the Trustpower Supreme Community Award. And it has forever changed the way this community looks and feels. Once a departure point, Paihia now has a heart and is a destination in its own right. The park, on the water’s edge, now provides a place for people to meet, mix, mingle, sit back and relax. The common theme, however, is that the village’s transformation is a by-product of what happens when a community unites and works together for the greater good. It is fair to say that for many years Paihia was seen as disconnected, with polar opinions and no clarity about who it was. Once described as a good example of a town with no planning, it was a mixed jigsaw, with a tired look and feel. Today there’s a buzz in the air, and a sense of hope and optimism. The creation
1. The very first project – The Bay Belle Project uses seats from the passenger ferry that ran between Paihia and Russell for years. 2. Toilets prior and now. 3. Park from above [before & after]. Note: the new wharf is commercial – not part of the volunteer makeover.
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
COMMUNITIES YOU TOO
From left: Vince Hawksworth (Trustpower CE),Tania McInnes (deputy mayor, Far North District Council), Grant Harnish (Focus Paihia chair), Sarah Greener (Focus Paihia treasurer), Dr Bruce Harker (Trustpower Board chair).
of the projects has generated a strong sense of community pride and camaraderie. Lasting friendships have been formed, alliances achieved and credibility built. What is also impressive and somewhat unusual is the trust is becoming selfsustaining and no longer has to rely on outside funders to get a lot of things done. Smart business decisions and good management have put the trust in a strong financial position to move forward. It has been a win-win relationship
for the Far North District Council. In a time when unitary authorities are being discussed and many councils across New Zealand are struggling to meet basic demands – let alone develop the nice-to-have projects – it is refreshing to see a community stand up and take the lead. And the council has been behind it all the way. With local government in the business of serving its communities, it is recognised that it is much easier to work with and support groups that have
The Focus Paihia Community Charitable Trust is now looking to develop a toolkit to share its ideas and encourage other communities to take charge. It believes that if more people take responsibility and develop a bond and community spirit from the ground up, New Zealand will be in a much stronger, more resilient position to face whatever the future holds.
a cohesive approach and are clear about who they are and where they want to go. This council is incredibly proud of what Paihia has achieved, believing that the town is showcasing how fantastic the Far North is, and the people within it. It believes that Paihia is in the process of reinventing itself, achieving amazing results on a shoestring budget. It is a template and inspiration for other communities. In a time when many people feel disconnected from their community, Paihia is developing
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FIND OUT MORE
a roadmap that combines community aspiration with community spirit – something that we could probably all do with a little more of. On the project front, there is plenty more yet to come. The trust recognises there is still a way to go and is looking at a review of its strategic direction – all
with community input of course. Along the way, a world-class mountain bike park is to be built and with a community workshop on the horizon who knows what might pop up over the winter. LG • Tania McInnes is deputy mayor of the Far North District Council.
Far North District Council deputy mayor Tania McInnes is one of the keynote speakers at the 2015 National Community Board Conference where she will be using the Focus Paihia achievements as a case study in her talk ‘Change agent or change inhibitor’. The conference, which runs from May 14-16, is being held at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Waitangi, Bay of Islands. For more information go to www.nzcbc2015.co.nz/
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MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
When it comes to our urban landscapes, we need to shift from relying on seals of approval to real sustainability, says Scott Smith.
he design of the Devonport Library on Auckland’s North Shore has been the perfect opportunity to take a different approach to sustainable development. An understanding of the biggest ‘sustainability lever’ has enabled us to develop a series of design imperatives focusing on functionality, usability, adaptability, maintainability, comfort and enjoyment. Balancing environmental considerations against fiscal constraints and social outcomes highlighted that the most tragic application of a sustainability framework would be to deliver an efficient building that was never used. A building that is owned by, and serves, a community can only be sustainable if that community actually uses it. Ultimately, the project to design and build a new library in Devonport took a different approach to sustainability – the simple one. But the simple way through is not always the easiest option. Sustainability consultants face challenges when deciding how to implement sustainable environmental, social and economic outcomes in a design. A popular response has been to utilise a recognised sustainability rating tool –
highlighting the types of attributes that an environmentally sustainable building design will incorporate – to help drive the outcomes. Whilst these tools help in developing an understanding of the types of interventions that might be appropriate, they can be an imperfect fit. Rating tools such as Green Star, LEED, BREEAM or the Living Building Challenge don’t prioritise on a projectspecific basis, and the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) has responded by developing a “Custom” rating tool, which adjusts the existing suite of tools to fit in with an individual building typology. These tools act more as design guidelines than as a decision-making framework. But, as exemplified in the case of the Devonport Library, there is another option for projects that don’t rely on the marketing edge that a formal rating can provide. By putting sustainability at the top of the decisionmaking tree, it becomes a byword for considered design. The biggest sin of a sustainability rating tool is that it is used by designers
READ ALL ABOUT IT What: The new Devonport Library on Auckland’s North Shore Opened: February 2015 Work commissioned by: Auckland Council What AECOM did: Sustainability advisory work, structural engineering, building services engineering, civil engineering and geotechnical, acoustics Key partners: Athfield Architects and The Building Intelligence Group (TBIG)
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to replace good design. The application of a rating scheme can, for example, act as an uninformed trump card to a development. Such a scenario often results in divestment from more significant issues or the creation of absurd design solutions. The foil to this type of ad hoc approach, however, is to make all design decisions “good outcome” decisions. Defining the “good outcome” supports the most significant sustainability opportunities. By applying this type of big-picture sustainability thinking, the key sustainability outcomes tend to align with the project’s economic purpose. The Devonport Library, then, is used by an engaged public as a meeting house, a place to come together, a space which is truly for the public. Energy and water efficiency were sacrificed in the face of financial constraints so capital expenditure could focus on making the building beautiful. This trade-off works as the benefit of increased patronage significantly outweighs any increase in something like heating energy consumption. Increasing the number of people using the building immediately reduces the per capita energy and water consumption. The languages of sustainability and good design are identical. When we design in a considered fashion and focus on outcomes, we can deliver horizontal and vertical infrastructure that is better for humans, better for the environment and better for the economy. This is the challenge that should be handed down to the construction industry. How can we achieve real sustainability outcomes:
AWARD-WINNING WORK Local government organisations proved their worth at the recent 2015 Resene NZILA Pride of Place Landscape Architecture Awards, scoring two of the top prizes and plenty of the smaller category awards too.
GEORGE MALCOLM AWARD Project: Te Kopahou Reserve – Entrance to Wellington South Coast. Entrant: Charles Gordon, Wellington City Council. Client: Wellington City Council – Parks and Recreation The project demonstrates a sensitive and balanced response to a former quarry that is now highly valued for its natural setting. It pays heed to its new purpose as a gateway to the picturesque natural Wellington South Coast: more so by subtly embracing the memory of an old quarry site.The site negotiates a balance between environmental protection and public recreation. The brief included providing a public amenity
not just a green seal of approval? Don’t be tempted, though, to break down the design imperatives into building attributes. As soon as we define attributes (as rating tools do), we hinder innovation and risk missing opportunities for integrated thinking while abrogating our responsibility as designers to think about the big picture. LG • Scott Smith is the senior mechanical engineer, sustainability research & development, at AECOM New Zealand.
suitable for a valued natural area gateway. This comprised of interpretation, shelters, public conveniences, parking and separated pedestrian areas that were all to be nestled into a rehabilitated Wellington South Coast landscape setting.
CHARLIE CHALLENGER AWARD Project: Auckland Transport – City East West Transport Study. Entrant: Stuart Houghton, Boffa Miskell. Client: Auckland Transport The City East West Transport Study does more than just set a path for the future development of Auckland’s CBD East West movement network. It firmly sets the path for the role of landscape architecture in urban transportation planning.
OUTSTANDING DESIGN COST TO BUILD UNDER $200,000 Project: Navy Museum Activity Zone.
Entrant: Reset Urban Design. Client: Auckland Council
OUTSTANDING DESIGN COST TO BUILD OVER $2 MILLION Project: Beachlands Maraetai Coastal Walkway. Entrant: Isthmus & Auckland Council. Client: Auckland Council
SUSTAINABILITY Project: La Rosa Reserve Stream Daylighting. Entrant: Mark Lewis, Boffa Miskell. Client: Auckland Council
VISIONARY LANDSCAPE Project: Hobson Bay – Adding Heart to the Bay. Entrant: Reset Urban Design. Client: Orakei Local Board, Auckland
For a complete list of winning projects: bit.ly/1FM5X5w
REAL SUSTAINABLE DESIGN Try working through these two steps when working on a project. 1 Encapsulate the key sustainability outcome in a sentence, symbol or word. 2 Break this down into a set of more manageable imperatives or “design for” statements such as “design for occupant comfort” or “design for adaptability”. When you use these overarching imperatives, sustainability just becomes about good design.
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
ON MY WATCH
Can your organisation survive the business ethics breakfast test? By Jane Arnott
eing pilloried across the morning paper can ruin your breakfast. After the hastily-called meetings, investigations, briefings and media statements, the real scrutiny occurs. How could this have happened? What can be done? The typical reaction involves tightening up rules and processes. ‘Bad apples’ however will always exist and sometimes it’s the barrel itself that causes them to rot. What level of ethical culture is embedded in your operation? Talking about ethics can make people feel uncomfortable. It is as if they are being accused of something, when they have given their lives to public service in local government. Most mayors, councillors and senior officers sincerely believe that, on their watch, only the very best ethics are at work. However, it may be that certain behaviours are so ingrained as ‘business as usual’ as not to be considered unethical at all.
Councils are faced with almost innumerable policies and bylaws to uphold – so it’s reasonable to suggest some may be overlooked or monitored less stringently than others. All council services that have high demand present an opportunity for ‘ethical creep’, for preferential treatment, as can those where public notification could cause delays or activism. Would you be happy reading about these in your morning paper? • A n exposure of a taxpayer fraud which started as a small accounting adjustment but became a systematic pattern of falsified invoices and payments extending over years. • A policy on annexation or encroachment that is selectively upheld by council officers leading to a longstanding precedent being created, and suspicion of an equally longstanding conflict of interest.
BRICK BY BRICK These are the building blocks for an ethical culture. •P rovide guidance for staff on expected behaviours; •G ive them training so they know how to deal with ethical dilemmas; •C reate awareness campaigns that reinforce and normalise ethical considerations; •S upport people throughout your organisation so they can raise issues and speak up about wrongdoing; and • Provide sustained leadership.
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•A council arborist who routinely takes advantage of his position visiting ratepayers and providing advice on problem trees while handing out his personal business card for weekend appointments. Business ethics – the application of ethical values to business or public sector behaviour – is the best risk management tool you can hope for. By embedding ethics you will create a culture where doing the right thing is how business is done. By working to identify ethical risks or and offering training in ethical decision-making when faced with an ethical dilemma, the issues – and subsequent media storms – can be prevented from arising in the first place. Right across the public sector expectations of behaviour when dealing with taxpayer or ratepayer money are never far from the media’s scrutiny. Simply believing that ethical problems can’t happen on your watch is no longer sufficient. An ethical culture poses the question “is it fair?” as opposed to a rules-based one which seeks compliance without understanding or personal buy-in. What drives trust in your organisation? Is it compliance or is it the application of ethical values? Does every employee know how to navigate an ethical dilemma when the choice isn’t so much between right and wrong but between right and right? The question is not without significance. Can every senior manager be sure that amongst their direct reports the pressure to behave unethically is kept in check by a strong sense of doing what is right? (See box story “Spot the pressure points”.) Across all the research one clear truth emerges on why good people do bad things. Without intervention, an ethical lapse will get worse. Over time it will become more serious and more damaging across the entire value chain of trust and integrity. What at first was a small accounting adjustment becomes a massive fraud. A tender offered to a brother-in-law creates unsafe housing. Hospitality from suppliers enjoyed by councillors is condemned as bribery. In a 2009 speech to SOLGM the Hon Rodney Hide referred to directing –
enabling councils to do the right thing and prohibiting councils from doing the wrong thing. This is all about business ethics. It’s about giving people the tools so they have the confidence to think through and identify the right thing to do – no matter the pressure from the ‘good friend’ who simply wants a favour just this once, or to maintain the status quo or a precedent established by years. Local government officers face choices every day. Tender processes, no matter how robust, still come down to choice; upholding policy comes down to choice. Without the support of an ethical culture, it can be difficult to do the right thing. As well as saying no to the unethical status quo, the ‘right thing’ could be speaking up. The key elements of organisational culture that lead to ethical lapses are paying lip service to ethical values, fear of failure and fear of raising concerns. (See box story “Finding a voice”.) An ethical local government culture which inspires confidence, and that will avoid the front page breakfast test, benefits from training and guidance. It is a risk to leave it to chance. Ask your own officers three questions: • Do they believe senior managers act ethically in discharging their duties? • Would they consider speaking up? • Do they think something will be done if they raise concerns? You may be surprised at the outcome. Back in 2007, a foreword to an Office of the Auditor-General guidance for public entities on managing conflicts of interest notes that, in a small country like ours, conflicts of interest
SPOT THE PRESSURE POINTS Why do some people act unethically? According to a 2006 American Management Association survey, The Ethical Enterprise – A Global Study of Business Ethics: •6 9 percent of people said their top reason would be the push to meet unrealistic business objectives and deadlines; • 3 8.5 percent: a desire to further one’s career; • 3 3.8 percent: a desire to protect one’s livelihood; • 3 1.1 percent: working in an environment with cynicism or diminished morale; • 2 7 percent: ignorance or improper training; • 2 4 percent: a lack of consequence if caught. Do you recognise any of those drivers in your local authority?
in our working lives are natural and unavoidable. “The existence of a conflict of interest does not necessarily mean that someone has done something wrong, and it need not cause problems,” said the OAG. “It just needs to be identified and managed carefully.” Business ethics training addresses the ‘how’. It’s all about how to identify and how to manage – the two areas that enable the best outcome and protect against the worst. Enjoy your breakfast. LG • Jane Arnott is an associate and the New Zealand representative for the UK-based Institute of Business Ethics.
FINDING A VOICE A 2011 Boston Research Group study found that in a ‘blind obedience culture’ nearly half of respondents had observed unethical behaviour but only a quarter considered they would speak up. In contrast, within a ‘self-governance culture’ just a quarter of respondents had observed unethical behaviour and 90 percent said they were likely to speak up. Maintaining and promoting speak-up, as part of the toolkit to prevent wrongdoing either internally or externally, requires more than just lip service. Encouraging employees to speak up can prevent an isolated ethical lapse from becoming an entrenched behaviour that snowballs into a scandal. Monitoring through surveys, internal audits and stakeholder loops can provide the quantitative data that confirms whether your council officers are on track.
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
WHANGAREI DISTRICT COUNCIL appoints Rob Forlong as its new chief executive. He will take up his new role in July. Rob, who is currently chief executive of the Environmental Protection Authority, has some 10 years’ experience as a CEO. His past leadership roles include managerial positions at the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
MARLBOROUGH DISTRICT COUNCIL says it expects to announce sometime in August / September this year who its new CEO will be. Current CEO Andrew Besley has announced his decision to retire from the council in December after 21 years’ service.
Alan Bird will take up his new role as NEW PLYMOUTH DISTRICT COUNCIL’s group manager business performance in early July. His appointment means the final vacancy in the council’s executive leadership team has been filled. Alan has been chief financial officer of AsureQuality for the past six years. In his new role he will be responsible for the council’s financial, information technology, legal, risk management and property functions.
CIVIL CONTRACTORS NEW ZEALAND (CCNZ) names Peter Silcock as its new chief executive. Peter will step into the position from his current long-term role as chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand. Members of the New Zealand Contractors’ Federation and Roading New Zealand elected to join the two organisations in September last year to form CCNZ. Peter played a key role in the establishment of Horticulture NZ in 2006 and in the development of the industry’s development strategy. CCNZ represents the interests and aspirations of over 400 members, including large, medium-sized and small businesses in civil engineering, construction and general contracting.
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Rick van Barneveld, who spent the past five years as general manager of infrastructure and engineering for KiwiRail, is now a principal director at RESOLVE GROUP. Rick is part of the company’s strategic advice team and is based primarily in Wellington where he can provide better reach to Resolve’s South Island operators.
Vanessa James joins the board of New Plymouth District Council CCO VENTURE TARANAKI TRUST. Vanessa is senior vice president, global marketing and logistics at Methanex. She takes the place of Roy Weaver who is stepping down from the board following his election as a New Plymouth District Council councillor earlier this year.
Duncan McCann becomes deputy mayor of PALMERSTON NORTH CITY COUNCIL. He steps into the shoes of former deputy mayor Jim Jefferies who was acting mayor between Jono Naylor’s resignation and the election of current mayor Grant Smith in February this year.
Jim Quinn takes over as AUCKLAND COUNCIL’s new chief of strategy, replacing Roger Blakely who has completed his fixed term as chief planning officer. Jim was the inaugural CEO of KiwiRail, where he led the integration of New Zealand’s rail assets and created the plan to turn the business around. His previous experience in general management roles includes stints with New Zealand Post, Advantage Group, WEL Energy, QED Software and New Zealand Couriers. He was chair of MCom for nine years and is currently a director at Lyttleton Port, Payments New Zealand, Halls Group and Go Bus.
JEREMY ELWOOD / ON THE FUNNY STUFF COM E DIAN, ACTOR AN D WR ITE R. email@example.com
Party on Focusing on the fun bits of local government.
EVENTS BRING PEOPLE, PROFITS AND POSITIVITY INTO THE AREAS WHERE THEY TAKE PLACE.
love a good party, me. The bigger the better, and the longer it goes on for, I’m there for the duration. Which is why I love festivals, and major events of all kinds. Thankfully it’s been a great year for them so far. From the Cricket World Cup (apart from that last day, obviously) to the Wellington Fringe Festival, through a long summer of music events and through into the upcoming NZ International Comedy Festival, I’ve been out and about around the country like I’m a lot younger than I feel the next morning. Special events don’t just bring in revenue and attention to a region; they enhance a region by their very existence. They can almost literally put a city on a map. I recently spent time at my second Adelaide Fringe Festival, and I can think of no other reason I would ever have visited that hot, dusty, lovely part of Australia. The number of people who visit Edinburgh every August – more than doubling its usual population – is testament to the power of a huge multi-faceted event doing its part for tourism. For decades, New Zealanders have looked outwards, or at least northwards, for our chance to attend a large-scale party. Apart from the occasional visit to Auckland for, say, the Big Day Out, we had to apply for a passport to really get into a crowd. Not anymore. Now there are large scaleparties to be had the length of the country: from the summer music tours in the far north, to Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne, WOMAD in New Plymouth, all the way down to the Gold Guitars in Gore and the Bluff Oyster Festival in, rather obviously, Bluff. Throw in the World Buskers Festival in
Christchurch, arts and fringe festivals in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin and more, and that’s a pretty packed schedule before we even get to Easter. Are there too many events? Understandably, our ability to spend money on tickets isn’t limitless. But almost all of the arts festivals I can think of in New Zealand provide free events and just being in the midst of it all is part of the fun. They can mean more than just fun, too. I strongly believe events such as Diwali, Pasifika, Chinese Lantern festivals and Pride Week break down barriers – xenophobic or otherwise. They offer a glimpse into cultures that even until very recently may have felt alien and incomprehensible to a large number of “ordinary Kiwis” – as if such a thing has ever existed. My enthusiasm for these marquee events is obvious. So why am I writing about it here? Because local government enjoys a symbiotic relationship with these events that cannot be underestimated. Obviously, many of them simply could not happen without council support be it financial or logistical. Almost all of them occur, at least in part, on council property. Several of them require road closures, transport changes and community funding. But the relationship works both ways. Events bring people, profits and positivity into the areas where they take place. They can engender a sense of pride and ownership of a community. They offer ratepayers a tangible and enjoyable bang for their buck. And they make a town much more than just a place to live and work. It becomes a place to play. LG
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
LINDA O’REILLY / ON LEGAL ISSUES PARTN E R, B ROOKFI E LDS LAWYE R S. firstname.lastname@example.org
Walking a fine line Elected members and operational issues.
E ELECTED MEMBERS MUST ACT FAIRLY, LISTEN TO ALL SIDES CONTRIBUTING TO A DEBATE AND NOT EVER BE A JUDGE IN THEIR OWN CAUSE.
lected members of local authorities are usually quite well aware of the pecuniary interest provisions in the Local Authorities (Members’ Interests) Act 1968, and avoid conflicts of interest of this nature. But when members of the community seek the direct assistance of elected members the response can, in some circumstances, prejudice the decision-making of, or hamper the exercise of powers by, a local authority.
DECISION-MAKING In their decision-making role elected members must act fairly, listen to all sides contributing to a debate and not ever be a judge in their own cause. The requirement to act fairly may be breached when elected members exhibit, or even appear to exhibit, bias or predetermination in relation to the decisions they make. Where any members taking part in a debate or voting on a council decision display bias, that decision is at risk of challenge by way of application for judicial review. To avoid this risk, elected members must take care in their engagement with persons promoting specific outcomes, or when expressing their views publicly. This means exercising care without stifling engagement or the expression of views. Adopting a public position on an issue of itself does not amount to actual bias or predetermination that will disqualify a member from hearing submissions or participating in deliberations, unless the statements made disclose or suggest a closed mind on the topic. In that case the member should declare an interest and abstain from the vote and the debate. It is to be expected that members of local authorities will hold certain views on matters of public interest and express those views from time to time. The courts have noted that it is always likely that elected members will hold particular views on certain issues, because one of the effects of local body democracy is that persons are voted into office holding certain views. What is important is that when they come to make decisions, they follow a thought
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process that recognises a change of mind may eventuate.
INCURRING LIABILITY The actions of an elected member may adversely affect a council’s position in relation to its affairs, as well as in the possibility of incurring actual financial or legal liability. This can arise where an elected member endeavours to assist a member of the public to resolve an issue with a council, but is assumed to represent council views, or have authority to bind it to any undertaking or promise made. This can result in prejudice to council’s position in a negotiation, compromise a regulatory process, or treating a third party inequitably. This can cost council money, engender community distrust, compromise insurance cover, or expose council to legal proceedings. To avoid this we suggest some basic rules for members. When consulted in advance of an application for a statutory consent do not offer a view on the likelihood of consent being granted, or express an opinion about the merits of the application if likely to be a decision-maker. If consulted when an application for statutory consent is underway, do not make a site visit or give advice without first consulting the officer responsible for the application. An elected member should never make an offer, promise or an undertaking to a member of the community on behalf of council, unless specifically delegated to do so. Members ought not to involve themselves directly in enforcement action being undertaken by council, other than to listen to any issues raised by affected parties, and draw them to the attention of the chief executive. Care should also be taken not to intervene in matters involving the employment of council staff. Instead any issues should be taken up directly with the chief executive. Where there is the likelihood or even the possibility of a claim for damages or legal proceedings against council, avoid any comments or admissions that may adversely affect council’s position, including the application of its insurance cover. LG
MALCOLM ABERNETHY / FROM CIVIL CONTRACTORS NZ EXECUTIVE OFFICE R, CIVI L CONTRACTOR S N EW Z EALAN D email@example.com
Supply and demand The impact of larger aggregated bundled-up contracts.
A THE DESIGN OF THE CONTRACT LIMITS THE NUMBER OF SUPPLIERS THAT HAVE THE CAPACITY TO DELIVER.
t a recent MBIE Procurement Business Reference Group meeting it was interesting to note how supply industries were perceived. It became apparent that procurement managers are not always aware of the capacity and capability of the supply chain. Nor are they aware of the nuances and dynamics of a particular supply industry. Procuring organisations (clients) need to be aware of the supply market they are working with and the impact of their procurement strategy on suppliers of all sizes and abilities. Simply put, they need to manage the supply chain. Let’s look back a little to provide a way forward as to how best to do this. New Zealand has a rich history of contractors, entrepreneurs and business people who have grown their businesses from small beginnings. Fletcher is one of these companies that has had the opportunities and desire to grow since constructing its first house in Dunedin in 1909. The point is they started small as one or two good keen men and women who saw opportunities and embraced the risks and challenges to succeed. More importantly, they have had the opportunities made available by their clients through their procurement practices. Clients need to understand the size and types of supplier business that can respond to a particular supply requirement or contract. They need to know how those businesses interact with others in the same field and the capability of the supplier: including their management skills, systems and resources. Over recent years we have seen the advent of larger aggregated bundled-up contracts that stretch an individual company’s resources and capability. We have also seen contracts bundled up in an attempt at driving efficiency where only a very small number of suppliers can deliver on such a contract. The client then throws their arms in the air saying the supplier
market does not have the capability or capacity to deliver the contract. In my book that is a foul. It’s a foul because the design of the contract limits the number of suppliers that have the capacity to deliver. The only reason they lack the capacity is because the contract has become too large or encompasses too many different activities. Over the past five years Civil Contractors New Zealand has been promoting ‘a healthy civil construction sector’ which has the vision of ‘a safe, viable and progressive sector meeting the needs of all its participants’. A healthy market is one that has skilled and qualified people producing outcomes that deliver value for money to all parties. It is a 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. The last item on that list is the cornerstone of a healthy supply chain. Companies need their clients’ procurement practices to help provide opportunities for them to grow their business. Large aggregated bundled-up contracts don’t allow that because there is frequently too large a gap from being a subcontractor or supplier to taking on a larger contract that the business can complete in its own right. The cycle of growth has a business delivering on small contracts and progressing by gaining experience and investing in training, skills development and resources to improve quality and productivity. One step at a time! To develop and maintain a healthy supply chain clients (procurers) need to offer a range of contract types and sizes that provide growth opportunities. Furthermore, clients need to collaborate with the supply chain to produce innovative solutions using clear procurement strategies. It is through a client’s procurement strategies and the delivery process that sustainable supply chains can be developed and maintained. LG
MAY 2015 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
LAWRENCE YULE / FROM LGNZ PR ESI DE NT, LOCAL G OVE R N M E NT N EW Z EALAN D (LG NZ). firstname.lastname@example.org
Demonstrating real value Looking forward: looking back. Here’s the plan to date.
A THERE WILL CONTINUE TO BE A FOCUS ON SOUND POLICY WORK, STAKEHOLDERS, MEMBERS, GOVERNANCE AND BENCHMARKING.
s I write this, LGNZ’s refreshed Business Plan for the 2015/16 to 2017/18 period has just gone to print. It outlines the ways in which local government plans to achieve its vision of being “the enabler”, with local democracy powering community and national success. In the past year, the sector has collectively made good gains achieving many of the goals outlined in LGNZ’s previous period’s Business Plan. I have a strong sense that the sector is motivated and focused. It is energising to see the potential for us to reach even further during the year ahead to build on this momentum. Looking at specifics, in the past year we commenced the Local Government Funding Review, an important project for the future of local government given rapid demographic and economic change. The initiative was announced in April 2014, its working party formed and the discussion paper released in February this year. Similarly, the 3 Waters project has also made significant progress. A single National Information Framework was completed and analysed and an issues paper released in October. The final position paper, which outlines a possible new regulatory model for our 3 Waters infrastructure and services, will be out shortly. Important work continued on the Local Government Insurance Review. Our annual conference in July and the inaugural LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards were successful and greatly enjoyed by attendees. We began delivering a governance training programme with the Institute of Directors and launched EquiP, the Centre of Excellence. The year ahead will see even further progress on
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these and other key items. Sector reputation and performance will be top of mind during the year ahead as the sector looks to better communicate and lift the value that local government delivers. Work will take place on this at the national level and locally. The Local Government Insurance Review will be in the spotlight for a time this year as it advances its progress. The LGNZ Local Government Funding Review recommendations will be announced mid-year when the final report is published. EquiP services are in demand from councils around the country. These include good governance in local government, the executive performance programme, audit and risk, the Road Transportation Unit and the functional review programme. We will roll out additional services in the year ahead to meet sector needs. Local government aims to advocate effectively. This means that our community and our council interests are represented constructively, yet assertively, with central government and other stakeholders while promoting actively in broad terms the value that the sector provides both nationally and locally to New Zealand’s diverse communities. The sector has a strong drive to deliver value to ratepayers by offering products and services that align with that objective. LGNZ’s services are intended to support the manner in which local authorities add value to their communities. There will continue to be a focus on sound policy work, stakeholders, members, governance and benchmarking In my view, local government is taking ownership of the key issues that face it, and in doing so is strengthening our leadership and service delivery for our communities. LG
Feedback on the LGNZ Local Government Funding Review In February LGNZ released its Funding Review discussion paper, which elevated debate about the various funding opportunities and constraints in New Zealand. Before we analyse the detail of responses, below is a bit of a flavour of where local government sees options and solutions and reactions to the four key themes. Effective partnership between local and central government around shared goals and strategies The Funding Review working group found that a “principles-based” partnership between central and local government is essential in order to enhance and strengthen New Zealand’s democratic model. An approach like this would allow both arms of government to engage intelligently on issues and make joint decisions for the benefit of the country as a whole. It would be a move away from a regime that sees frequent tweaking of local government policy settings to a practice that incentivises, in the medium to long-term, the right outcomes sought by all. Early feedback shows considerable support for this.
Local government ensuring communities it is open to innovation in service delivery The sector recognises there is no free lunch. All activities and resources must be paid for, but the manner in which we address those needs must be fair, transparent and appropriate. Solutions to funding issues must be specific and must work within different environments, demographics and economies. Feedback from the sector and stakeholders on this was largely supportive.
Diverse nature of New Zealand’s communities raises different challenges Some areas of New Zealand are facing growth while others have populations that are static or in decline. Considering these differences, the issue is how to maintain infrastructure and services previously funded by a larger funding base. Funding solutions need to take account of these differences and, in considering solutions, an investment approach that ensures that funding contributes to the long-term sustainability of communities is warranted. Most feedback agreed with this.
An appropriate funding mix that includes greater use of current tools including prices (user charges) and prudent use of debt There are 78 local governments in New Zealand and all prioritise and value resources differently. Growing the understanding of their funding choices will require central government to contribute to lifting the quality of the funding debate. Sound bites criticising debt or rate levels that deter needed infrastructure investment is unhelpful both to the local authority and to the country. Local government, in return, needs to ensure that it is performing to best practice levels, is open to finding the most efficient organisational forms through which to deliver services and be able to demonstrate this in a transparent manner. Lifting governance and performance is a key priority across the sector and respondents were overall in favour of this. The aim of this process is to identify options and alternatives to complement the funding tools available to councils and provide incentives to stimulate economic growth. LGNZ is now collating the responses into a final report that will be issued later in the year.
Building a more affordable housing environment An opinion piece by Lawrence Yule President of Local Government New Zealand
Housing affordability has rarely been out of the headlines over the past 12 months. The international Economist magazine found New Zealand house prices were among the most overvalued in the world, house prices in Auckland continued to hit record highs and, in November 2014, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) warned that the overvalued Auckland housing market and slowing global growth are key risks to New Zealand’s economic outlook. One prong of the Government’s approach to tackling this issue is a new Productivity Commission inquiry which focuses on what influences land supply for housing. The Government has asked the Commission to “examine the by-laws, processes and practices of local planning and development systems across New Zealand’s faster-growing urban areas.” This will, most likely, reignite debate about the role of local government in addressing housing affordability. Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) strongly supports identifying solutions to address housing affordability and welcomes the Commission looking at how land planning systems can better benefit cities and how local authorities make land available for housing. However, when considering housing supply and affordability, it is important to recognise the many factors at play. The priority cannot continue to be simply on how to provide more housing in Auckland or other areas deemed unaffordable. It must be on how we create and support vibrant economies and communities in the many areas of New Zealand with good land supply.
If we can do this, migrants will look beyond a handful of metropolitan areas, and skilled Kiwis will have confidence to move from areas of housing pressure to other regional centres to buy homes, raise families and enjoy productive careers.
< We need to find ways to develop our regional centres into environments which offer opportunities in education, employment and business. We see a real opportunity to develop a shared national strategy to strengthen regional economies to make other areas in New Zealand attractive places to live. > And, even in areas deemed to be unaffordable, overall, land shortages are not the issue. Research commissioned by LGNZ has found that apart from a small number of metropolitan areas, residential land supply shortages are not a universal problem in New Zealand. Major issues impacting housing supply and affordability include timing of private sector land sales, release of land by developers and how long developers take to build once land has been zoned. Banking policy, construction costs, and the high cost of building materials – highlighted in the Productivity’s Commission last report in 2012 – also play a part. Another recent NZIER report also found that demand for bespoke housing, poor project management and slow uptake of technology were factors in slowing productivity in the building sector.
Additionally, council roles in planning are not always clear cut. Changing zoning plans is complex and frequently subject to litigation as decisions are often challenged. The time this process takes is a significant issue that influences the very first step in the process of making land available for housing and local government is calling for legislation to be simplified. The other significant issue for local government is funding infrastructure for high growth areas where existing communities cannot always cover the costs of future population growth. Local government will be determining how it can work with the Government on changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) – and providing input on ways to make RMA processes more efficient and accessible for the public. The government had signalled it would look at wider application of housing accord processes that streamline and better focus public participation, template formats for plans to encourage consistency, plan provisions with greater clarity around expected outcomes and more use of e-planning tools. Ten local authorities are now listed on the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act Schedule. This means these areas can enter a housing accord with the Government. These local authorities have recognised the benefits of a truncated approach for residential rezoning and consenting. There is opportunity to examine applying these provisions more widely to the RMA, beyond residential development in particular locations. Statistics from the Ministry for the Environment show that timeliness of consenting has never been better. Ninety seven per cent of consents are processed within statutory timeframes. Addressing housing shortages is about much more than “cutting through the red tape.” LGNZ strongly advocates that the most effective way forward is through a co-ordinated effort between local and central government – to drive regional development and revitalise regional economies. With a joined-up approach from local and central government, we could achieve much more.
Upcoming KnowHow workshops 19 May in Wellington and 17 June in Dunedin: Chairing Meetings/Conflicts of Interest/Standing Orders There is an art to chairing a successful meeting. From meeting management techniques to Standing Orders, we’ll examine styles and approaches that help meetings run smoothly, generate decisions, translate the jargon, cover the protocol and discuss what makes an effective meeting and constructive participation. 10 June: RMA – How it really works / Kapiti Coast The RMA impacts a broad range of areas in local government. This intensive workshop takes apart and de-mystifies this complex and misunderstood Act. We deliver an overview of the structure of the Act and also cover key policy documents and the resource consent process. 26 June: Understanding and maximising relationships with China / Wellington On completion of this workshop you will understand Chinese engagement business practices, have the tools and skills regarding appropriate cultural protocols enabling strong business relationships and feel more confident and knowledgeable about the political differences between New Zealand and China. To register for KnowHow workshops please visit www.lgnz.co.nz/equip-and-knowhow/
< The priority cannot continue to be simply on how to provide more housing in Auckland or other areas deemed unaffordable. It must be on how we create and support vibrant economies and communities in the many areas of New Zealand with good land supply. > Lawrence Yule, President of Local Government New Zealand MAY 2015
The Final Word National Council Advisory Groups up and running A new LGNZ initiative promotes best practice governance by bringing thought leadership from across the sector in-house.
members representing the councils of Rotorua, Dunedin, QueenstownLakes, South Wairarapa, Auckland, Hawkes Bay and Dunedin.
LGNZ has established four sector Advisory Groups as sub-committees to its governing National Council. They will bring further diversity of thought to the detail of important policy issues impacting local government.
Economic and Social Policy Advisory Group
These groups consist of a broad selection of members from across New Zealand to ensure input from all corners of the country. Members were selected from nominations, based on the diversity of viewpoints and experience they would bring. Their roles in council include Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Councillor, Chair and Senior Management so that people with different roles in councils are represented.
This group works on matters relating to economic, social and cultural well-being. One of the items it has specifically contributed thought leadership on is policy relating to the funding, operating and provision of water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure. Its members are from Tauranga, Auckland, Manawatu, South Taranaki, Bay of Plenty, Horowhenua, Horizons and Gore. Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby chairs this group. Environmental Policy Advisory Group
It creates an innovative environment with a pool of ideas to draw from. Around the boardroom table, discussions from these diverse groups will lead to a more robust advocacy offering from LGNZ and a greater range of member perspectives represented. That means the sector will increase its effectiveness in advocacy for desired outcomes and LGNZ will have an even better understanding of how issues impact local government.
This group has a focus on environmental well-being, environmental reporting and the management of natural hazards. RMA reform is a big ticket item for this group, in particular the Bill itself in terms of timing and the process for engagement with submissions and accuracy, and the Productivity Commission inquiry into the use of land for housing. Its members represent councils in Otago, Waikato, Great Wellington, Ruapehu, Environment Southland, Far North and Rotorua. Otago Regional Council Chair Stephen Woodhead is the chair of this Advisory Group.
Governance and Strategy Advisory Group
Sector Performance Group
This group provides advice on strategy, policy and best practice approaches that relate to local government governance, funding and strategic communications. Projects it has worked on so far include LGNZâ€™s 2015/16-2017/18 Business Plan, the Local Government Funding Review, regulatory reform and the Young Elected Members Group. LGNZ President Lawrence Yule is Chair of this group, alongside
This group has provided valuable insight into matters relating to shared service provision of products and services and the direction and performance of EquiP, LGNZâ€™s Centre of Excellence. Its members include representatives from Greater Wellington, Upper Hutt, South Taranaki, Auckland, Tasman, Otago and Queenstown-Lakes. LGNZ Vice President and Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy chairs this group.
< This initiative is a first for local government. These groups will promote best practice governance in ensuring broad and effective local government thinking is around the table to benefit the wider sector. >
Kapiti Coast District Council saves ratepayer dollars and the environment.
Kapiti Coast District Council has achieved what many might think is impossible – it’s successfully reduced its carbon footprint by 48% in three years (2010-2013) and its energy costs are decreasing by about $350,000 a year. With a rapidly-growing region of about 51,000 ratepayers between Paekakariki and Otaki, the Kapiti Coast District Council’s progressive approach to sustainability has had a profound effect on its community. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not just about cost savings of course. It’s vital in our district, as we are a coastal community and could be severely affected by the impacts of climate change such as sea level rise. As leaders in our community, we must show leadership in this area,” the council’s energy advisor, Jake Roos says. “The savings that result from emissions reductions will create a budget for other reduction projects, continuing the cycle of energy and cost savings.”
A key factor in the council’s successful energy efficiency projects is the use of low interest Crown Loans funded by EECA BUSINESS. The council was able to access almost $1.5 million in loans to reduce energy use through a multitude of
projects, big and small, the cumulative effects of which reach deep into the community. Sewage sludge drying plant Conversion from diesel to wood chip fuel to operate the plant in 2009 slashed the council’s fuel costs by more than $300,000 a year. The conversion is likely to save more than $8.5 million over the 15 year life of the replacement boiler plant. Energy savings equate to $406,000 p.a. Swimming pool energy efficiency Swimming pools at Otaki and Waikanae have been upgraded with energy efficiency measures including low flow shower heads in the changing rooms and variable speed drives on pool pumps. The new Coastlands Aquatic Centre was built using sustainable principles and plant, including a heat pump recovery system which recycles 3,000 litres of water a day. Its unique translucent roof harvests solar energy, satisfying 12% of the facility’s annual heating demand and reducing energy used for lighting by 70%. Pensioner flat retrofitting Ceiling and underfloor insulation, draughtstoppers and solar water heating were retrofitted into 118 pensioner flats in 2010, saving residents a combined total of $55,000 a year and improving the health of residents living in them. The project saved 148,000 kWh (gas).
What are Crown Loans? Low interest Crown Loans are available for publicly funded organisations. The loans fund energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. All applications are evaluated against one another according to the following criteria: • Payback period • CO2 emission reductions • How much energy the project saves or is displaced by renewable energy • Ability of the project to be a demonstration site for other government bodies, communities, and within the private sector • Co-beneﬁts, such as improving air quality or industry development.
Visit www.eecabusiness.govt.nz/ crownloans for further details.
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NEW ZEALAND’S CIVIL CONTRACTING INDUSTRY MAGAZINE
A VERY VERSATILE DOZER
THE VOICE OF NEW ZEALAND INDUSTRY APRIL 2015
ENERGY NZ PERSPECTIVES 2015
NEW ZEALAND’S CIVIL CONTRACTING INDUSTRY MAGAZINE
PUBLISHING CO. LTD OIL & GAS IN FOCUS AUTUMN VOL.9 NO.2 2015
GOING FOR THE HAT TRICK
CablePrice’s John Deere 700J LGP handles heavy work in a number of conditions, from rural earthmoving to forestry roading and civil work
Wirtgen New Zealand takes a multifaceted approach to construction hardware in conjunction with M2PP Alliance partner, Higgins.
Statoil’s Kiwi plans The Norwegian giant discusses ambitions
Ex Association chief executive Jeremy Sole reflects back Contracting innovations: Christchurch’s wastewater upgrade Ramping up housing supply through a highway interchange Investing in youth – a worthy school project in Northland
National Excavator Operator Competition highlights Heavy hauling one of the biggest loads ever through Northland ANZAC Memorial Park opens in time for 2015 commemoration Road cones – there’s more to them than you’d think
18/02/15 5:39 pm
Exploration – hope versus adversity
Two experts on finding the big one Vol.9 No.1
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Geothermal – where to now Future proofing a great resource
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NEW ZEALAND QUARRYING & MINING
NEW ZEALAND QUARRYING & MINING
GOING BACK FOR VALUE
Volume 12 - No 1 | February - March 2015 | $8.95
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Maximising the resource
Scalping lime and serpentine deep in the heart of the Waikato
Amuri Lime “couldn’t be happier” with its second Hitachi wheeled loader from CablePrice
Seeing our cities in
Geospatial experts map out walking paths & cycleways p16
GORE’S STEVE PARRY
On making every minute count p20
IN PRAISE OF GOOD WORK
The bare bones for smart cities p16
Local government’s fantastic EAs & PAs p24
New Plymouth District Council turns mobile-first p30
DOLLARS & SENSE
Stevenson Resources is redeveloping its Drury Quarry to get at new resources.
WHEN CONSENTING GETS TOO HARD
Bathurst Resources’ corporate manager talks about her job and the industry.
THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY Great consultation documents p14
EATING AWAY AT OUR ASSETS
The corrosively high cost of failing water infrastructure p34
A BROAD BAND OF OPPORTUNITY
A small Taranaki quarry under consenting pressure packs it in
LOOKING FOR THE GOD PARTICLE
TODD’S AUSSIE MINE INVESTMENT
Government’s $350 million pledge p28
Todd Corporation sets up a minerals arm to invest in Pilbara iron ore.
LEST WE FORGET
The search for the ideal skid resistant roading stone continues
Wellington City Council marks 100 years since Gallipoli p36
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One of the country’s oldest city quarries has started its rehabilitation
CHATTING WITH SAM AARONS
How should local government be funded? p12
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TIME TO FILL IT UP
LOOKING 150 YEARS AHEAD
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Published on May 22, 2015