NZ LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE VOL 54 • OCTOBER 2017 • $8.95
OPENING DOORS TO LGNZ PRESIDENT DAVE CULL On knobs and knockers p20
TIMARU’S AWARD-WINNING Districtwide Wastewater Strategy p26
PLACEMAKING IN NEW YORK Community gardens in the Bronx p28
What’s the role of councils? p14 LET THE TECHNOCRATS RULE What could possibly go wrong? p36
IN THIS ISSUE NZ LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
IN THIS ISSUE REGULARS
4 Editor’s Letter 8 In Brief 13 Products & Services 47 LGNZ
COLUMNISTS 43 Elizabeth Hughes: LG101 44 Frana Divich: On Legal Issues 45 Peter Silcock: From Civil Contractors New Zealand 46 Dave Cull: From LGNZ
REPORTS 14 O PENING DOORS TO CHINA What’s the role of councils? 20 N EW LGNZ PRESIDENT DAVE CULL On knobs and knockers 26 T IMARU DISTRICT COUNCIL Award-winning Districtwide Wastewater Strategy
28 28 P LACEMAKING IN NEW YORK Community gardens in the Bronx 30 T HE NEXT DECADE OF IoT NZ IoT Alliance report spells out opportunities for councils 33 H AND IN HOOF Deer farmers and council officers forge partnerships 34 C IVIL DEFENCE How a focus on teams and centralised training could lift the game 35 H AVELOCK NORTH INQUIRY STAGE 2 Urgently-needed changes ahead 36 L ET THE TECHNOCRATS RULE What could possibly go wrong? 38 N EW TIMES: NEW GOVERNANCE MODEL A 21st century model for local government 42 T ECHNICAL BRIEFINGS How diversity powers innovation: Calibre Consulting’s Priyani de Silva-Currie and Samantha Almeida
SPECIAL FEATURES 40 Innovations in property management
ON THE COVER. OPENING DOORS TO CHINA: What’s the role of councils? See page 14. OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
EDITOR’S LETTER NZ LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
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, www.localgovernmentmag.co.nz EDITOR Ruth Le Pla Mobile: 021 266 3978 email@example.com
Living in interesting times This month’s cover story looks at the role of councils in spearheading regional economic development with partners in China. That’s not, perhaps, a common theme in local government circles but I’d argue it should be. That’s for two reasons. First, get it right and the potential economic uplift is huge. What Kiwi mayor would not like to encourage a slice of the current $8.5 billion-plus worth of business into their region’s own plans and vision for its future? The key point is that it needs to happen in a locally-driven way. That means each town, city, district or region must first have a very clear idea of how it wants to shape its own future and then find the best way to do so. Second, anyone who still believes councils are just there to sort out the rubbish and pipes has another thing coming. No-one is saying these things aren’t important – name me a town that doesn’t want basic services. But the idea that local government should be a passive bystander, solely accepting directives from above and keeping things ticking over, is a nonsense. The upcoming New Zealand China Mayoral Forum in Wellington is testament to both these ideas. Organised by LGNZ to take place at the start of December, it’s the second such get-
together at this high level. The first took place in Xiamen, China, two years ago. There’s considerable doubt about the validity of Robert F Kennedy’s much-quoted so-called Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times”. But it’s certainly true that we are going through a period of huge change right now. As luck would have it, I’m writing just days before the general election. So it’s impossible to know which way the electoral winds will be blowing when you read this. No matter which party – or, more likely, combination of parties – holds power, LGNZ has pledged to keep focusing on what it has identified as the core priorities for the sector. It’s a long list, including everything from infrastructure funding to social equality and better ways to manage risk. Just recently, under the leadership of new president Dave Cull, it has also pledged to bring to the fore the inter-related issues of climate change and water. The role of councils is anything but simple. But, as in the case of sifting through opportunities to work with Chinese organisations for mutual benefit, having a clear direction represents a huge step forward.
Ruth Le Pla, editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
SALES CONSULTANT Charles Fairbairn DDI: 09 636 5724 Mobile: 021 411 890 email@example.com ADMINISTRATION/SUBSCRIPTIONS firstname.lastname@example.org DDI: 09 636 5715 PRODUCTION Design: Jonathan Whittaker email@example.com Printing: PMP MAXUM CONTRIBUTORS Samantha Almeida, Vaughn Crowther, Dave Cull, Frana Divich, Julie Hardaker, Elizabeth Hughes, Patricia Moore, Ben Paul, John Pfahlert, Noel Roberts, Peter Silcock, Priyani de Silva-Currie, Phil Stewart GENERAL MANAGER David Penny DDI: 09 636 5710 Mobile: 021 190 4078 firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL MANAGER Alan Titchall DDI: 09 636 5712 Mobile: 027 405 0338 email@example.com 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.
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Council projects win awards for construction excellence A Dunedin City Council traffic signals maintenance project scored a significant win at the recent CCNZ / Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards. Won by contractor Downer NZ, the Category 5 Award celebrates excellence in the maintenance and management of assets including routine maintenance. The clients are Dunedin City Council and the NZTA. The contract, handled by Downer NZ, is for the essential maintenance and upgrade of the greater Dunedin area traffic signals network – including proactive and reactive maintenance, and installation. Since 2013, Downer has provided traffic signals operations and maintenance services for Dunedin City, Mosgiel, Oamaru and NZTA’s State Highway network in the Otago area. The contract serves an urban population of over 150,000. The network contains 89 signalised intersections, with over 700 structures and more than 1600 lamps; 24/7 operation is a must-have criterion for operations with an attendance time of 30 minutes required. The team is made up of two electricians, two apprentice electricians, an IT technician and contract manager, all working part-time on the network, attending to other duties when not engaged fully on this contract.
Geoff Milsom joins PDP as Chief Executive Geoff will take over from founding CEOs Alan Pattle and Keith Delamore, and continue to build on the strong foundation they have provided PDP over the last 30 years. Alan will stay on as Board Chairman and a Technical Director, while Keith is set to retire at the end of September. Geoff brings with him 27 years of experience as a consulting engineer, coupled with an extensive background in business leadership, strategic planning and business development in the New Zealand water and infrastructure sectors. When asked what attracted him to PDP, Geoff said "primarily it's their collegiate, one team approach and their unfaltering focus on service, recognising that enduring relationships with their clients and stakeholders are fundamental; and these are both principles that form the foundation of my approach to business". Geoff went on to say "Keith and Alan should be extremely proud of the business they have built. I feel privileged to be given this opportunity to continue their legacy, to lead PDP forward to further success. With a strong and growing economy, significant planned investment in infrastructure, and some of the environmental challenges facing NZ, it is an exciting time to be at PDP". PAT T L E D E L A M O R E PA R T N E R S LT D
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The team inherited this long-running contract four years ago. At the time, many of the assets had been in place for over 20 years and there was limited recorded information about the infrastructure. Traffic signals are a critical road safety feature of any city. The Downer team undertook a review of 89 intersections and established an electronic asset database that contains all known information about each intersection. Previously, a manual system had been operated and the data available was limited. Maintenance records had not been consistently updated, now necessitating a step change in system knowledge to improve performance. Downer instigated a bespoke Sharepoint extranet site to build up a comprehensive asset management system to record all information about each location. This is regularly updated whenever work takes place at the location. This allows the client and the team to quickly understand how the signals operate at the specific intersection and, importantly, what other services are present. The Downer team also represents both Dunedin City Council and NZTA when working on the city’s traffic signal infrastructure, and recognises this high degree of autonomous trust and responds to this by keeping its clients informed of activities performed and planned. In a second project, a difficult realignment of wastewater pipes and strong liaison with private property owners helped Construction Contracts (CCL) win the Category 1A Award at the CCNZ / Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards. Category 1A recognises projects with a value of less than $5 million and is for companies with turnover of less than $10 million. For the Jackson Street Wastewater Renewals project, CCL developed and maintained a strong relationship with the property owners whose acceptance of the onsite work was absolutely necessary. The company collaborated with Wellington Water and MWH to obtain approvals. An old poorly-aligned earthenware sewer pipe along part of Wellington’s Jackson Street, which dated back to 1910, was showing signs of severe tree root infestation and collapse. The pipe also passed beneath a private house. CCL was contracted to replace and realign the sewer pipe in what was one of the most difficult and complex projects undertaken of this nature. CCL rose to the challenge and showed innovation in proposing a new alignment design which significantly minimised the environmental impacts to private property compared to a design previously submitted. The project also required diplomacy in liaising with the owners of affected residences and utmost care in implementation so as to minimise disturbances to land and gardens. A process of regular communication and consultation was established with CCL taking the lead in instigating and maintaining a good working relationship with homeowners and other stakeholders. Issues were carefully considered and, by working with residents, solutions found. Ninety-five metres of HDPE pipe was laid by open trenching along the new alignment, 45 metres was installed by directional drilling,
Dunedin City Council traffic signals maintenance.
while a further 75 metres was laid by hand in areas where machinery could not be used due to access limitations, necessitating the use of modified tools and barrows. This required a significant amount of stamina and physical hard labour, digging through weathered and solid greywacke on steep terrain in wet and extremely cold conditions. To minimise disruption to residents, sewage and wastewater services were maintained throughout the project via overland pipes and
Construction Contracts – Jackson Street wastewater renewals.
pumps connected to the sewer downstream of the work area. The project was completed within budget and timeframe with the sewer installed to contract specifications and all affected residential properties reinstated to best trade practice standard. The complexity of this project had earlier been recognised with CCL receiving the 2017 CCNZ local branch Wellington / Wairarapa Construction Award, Category A. The project also gained the ACC Workplace Safety Award at the 2016 Wellington Gold Awards.
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OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY OCTOBER 9 LG Emerging Leaders Online Programme. Christchurch bit.ly/SOLGM_LGLeadershipEssentials 9 – 10 SOLGM’s Funding & Rating Forum. Cliftons Wellington, Majestic Centre, Wellington bit.ly/SOLGM_FundingRatingForum 17
Introduction to Asset Management. Novotel Royal Lakeside, Rotorua bit.ly/IPWEA_Intro_AssetMgmt
17 – 18 Contract Management. TBC, Wellington bit.ly/SOLGM_ContractMgmt_Wgtn 18 Political Decision Making. LGNZ. Selwyn www.lgnz.co.nz 18
Assessing & Improving Asset Management Maturity. Copthorne Hotel, Wellington bit.ly/IPWEA_AssetMgmtAssessment
Writing, Updating & Living Asset Management Plans. Novotel Royal Lakeside, Rotorua bit.ly/IPWEA_AssetMgmt_Plans
26 – 27 Infrastructure New Zealand: Building Nations Symposium. TSB Bank Arena, Wellington www.infrastructure.org.nz/buildingnations NOVEMBER 1 – 3
Local Authority Property Association Conference. Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, Rotorua www.lapa.co.nz/events-2/
6 – 8
NZ Transport Agency & NZIHT 18th Annual Conference. Trinity Wharf, Tauranga bit.ly/NZIHT_NZTA_Conference2017
6 – 9
WasteMINZ 29th Annual Conference. Claudelands, Hamilton bit.ly/WasteMINZ_Conference2017
8 Resource Management Act 1991. LGNZ. Wellington www.lgnz.co.nz 8 – 10 NZRA National Conference. TSB Showplace, New Plymouth bit.ly/NZRA_NationalConference 9
Young Elected Members Conference 2017. LGNZ. Terrace Downs Resort, Windwhistle, Canterbury www.lgnz.co.nz/events/yem-2017-conference/
13 – 14 Communication and Engagement Forum. Rydges Hotel, Queenstown bit.ly/SOLGM_CommunicationEngagement 13 – 15 ALGIM Annual Conference (includes infrastructure technical stream). Rotorua Energy Events Centre www.algim.org.nz/algim-events
2017 5th Biennial Symposium of the International Society for River Science. University of Waikato, Hamilton isrs2017.com
Making Effective Infrastructure Decisions. Novotel Royal Lakeside, Rotorua bit.ly/IPWEA_EffectiveInfrastructure
27 DHI Flood Forecasting Workshop. Napier bit.ly/DHI_FloodForecasting 28 – 29 Project Management. TBC, Christchurch bit.ly/SOLGM_ProjectMgmt_ChCh 28 – 1 Dec
NZ Hydrological Society Annual Conference 2017. Napier Conference Centre, Napier nzhsconference.co.nz
DECEMBER 4 New Zealand China Mayoral Forum. LGNZ. Wellington www.lgnz.co.nz 2018 FEBRUARY 14 – 15 Freshwater Management & Infrastructure Forum. Te Papa, Wellington bit.ly/CONFERENZ_FreshwaterInfrastructure 15 – 16 JLT Risk Management Forum. TBA, Wellington bit.ly/SOLGM_JLT_RiskMgmt 19
LG Emerging Leaders Online Programme. TBA, Hamilton bit.ly/SOLGM_LG_EmergingLeadersHamilton
27 – 28 Project Management. TBA, Hamilton bit.ly/SOLGM_ProjectMgmt_Hamilton MARCH 21 – 22 Road Infrastructure Management Forum. Palmerston North Convention Centre, Palmerston North bit.ly/IPWEA_RoadInfrastructure 26 – 27 Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum. TBA, Christchurch bit.ly/SOLGM_FinanceForum APRIL 12
PricewaterhouseCoopers Chief Executives Forum. TBA, Christchurch bit.ly/SOLGM_ChiefExecsForum
Executive Leaders Masterclass. TBA, Auckland bit.ly/SOLGM_ExecLeaders
2018 Gala Dinner and The Marketplace. TBA, Auckland bit.ly/SOLGM_2018GalaDinner
Would you like us to include your event in this calendar? Please email details to: email@example.com
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SOLGM boosts its LG toolkit SOLGM has added Effective Rating Reviews and a new Health and Safety module to its online LGSectorGoodToolkit. The toolkit now provides tips and tricks for balancing the legal requirements with the policy, and practical and political considerations that a good rating review will capture. A consortium of local authorities led by Stephen Halliwell of Working Smarter provided good
practice guidance for the work on rating reviews. SOLGM has also published the first of three new legal compliance modules following the 2015 rewrite of health and safety law. Module One sets out the context and the key ideas and parts of the statute that create the framework for health and safety at work compliance. SOLGM says Module Two is now under prepublication legal review. It features flowcharts
describing how to achieve compliance, plus commentary, and links to resources and guidance. Work has also started on Module Three which will focus on three hazards: Managing contractors; dealing with violent and / or aggressive people; and lone workers. Go to the SOLGM website for more information on the LGSectorGoodToolkit. www.solgm.co.nz
New guide on accessibility Upper Hutt City Council has a newly-updated customer service resource and training guide. The Enhancing Accessibility resource aims to help frontline and customer service staff in all sectors learn about accessibility and how to appropriately engage with, and serve, disabled people. The handbook and accompanying training guide replace the original resource DIScover, Serving Customers with Disabilities, which was
funded by the Ministry of Social Developmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Making a Difference fund in 2011. The resource is produced by Upper Hutt City Council with help from Pam MacNeill of Disability Responsiveness New Zealand. The handbook and training guide are free to the public. A limited number of printed copies are also available from council reception. Download the handbook at www. upperhuttcity.com/enhancing-accessibility
Pam MacNeill, from Disability Responsiveness New Zealand, addresses attendees at the Enhancing Accessibility launch.
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based government and public law practice. She focuses on assisting public-sector-facing clients with strategic, regulatory and policyrelated issues. She was recently appointed to the NZ Law Society’s national Public and Administrative Law Committee.
ON THE MOVE Patrick (Pat) Dougherty returns to Nelson City Council as chief executive. He has been CE of Kapiti Coast District Council for the past nine years. Before that he was deputy chief executive at Nelson City Council. Queenstown-based Alistair Snow has been appointed general manager – buildings for engineering and design consultancy Harrison Grierson. His appointment creates a permanent base for the firm in Queenstown. A civil engineer, Alistair has 25 years’ experience in multidisciplinary consultancy and project management,
nationally and internationally. He has delivered an extensive range of projects across the public sector, infrastructure, tourism, hospitality, commercial, retail, residential and telecommunications sectors. Simpson Grierson appoints senior lawyer Sally McKechnie as a partner in its Wellington office. Sally joined the firm in May to lead its Wellington-
Four tips: Building trust with stakeholders A major function for all councils is to build trust with stakeholders. Ben Paul, director – New Zealand of The Business of Trust, shares some practical ideas. 1 Only make promises that can be kept. A common trait is that people promise to have something competed by Friday but don’t. An email sheepishly arrives the following Tuesday apologising and saying that due to X, Y and Z the deadline couldn’t be met so the work will be done by the next Friday. For those on the receiving end, this starts to erode trust in that person and sometimes also the organisation they represent. It tells stakeholders the work you are doing for them is not as important as X, Y or even Z. It also makes them question whether they can rely on their council to deliver. If timeframes are tight it is much better to simply say, “I will give you an update on
progress on Friday and let you know what the next stages are, and when this piece of work is likely to be completed”. 2 Engage through questions. Before any meeting prepare and practise questions to ask. Don’t just focus on your own presentation. Transferring information via a presentation is important. But unless people are asked questions they will switch off. They may also feel the presenter is only interested in themselves or their own organisation’s agenda, and is just paying lipservice to the audience’s needs. Whenever possible, aim to start every interaction with a question rather than a statement. 3 Demonstrate active curiosity. Ask questions like, “What would it mean to you when the new community service is delivered?” Show that you care about what’s
Engineering and environmental management firm Pattle Delamore Partners welcomes Geoff Milsom as its new chief executive. Geoff takes over from founding CEOs Alan Pattle – who stays on as board chairman and a technical director – and Keith Delamore who has retired. Geoff has 27 years’ experience as a consulting engineer. Share with us your news of people on the move. Email: email@example.com
important to the other person, and take time to understand how council services can, for example, help enable developers, or engage and support the local iwi. This is one of the most powerful things you can do. 4 Send a note that demonstrates active listening. Within 24 hours of every meeting, I send a short email confirming the main items discussed, and outlining agreed next steps and timelines. I also ask the other person to confirm that what I’ve written is correct and to let me know if I’ve missed anything. These simple bullet point emails take five to 10 minutes to write. Recipients respond about 90 percent of the time even if just to say something like, “Great summary. Appreciated” or they just add in or correct a small detail. Not only does this show the other person you really listened in the meeting, you also have an active line of communication which agrees the collaborative path forward.
CCNZ REPRESENTS NEW ZEALAND’S CIVIL and GENERAL CONTRACTING INDUSTRY We provide a forum for Councils to connect with their local contractors around issues such as procurement, health and safety, forward work planning and sustainability.
For contact details for your local CCNZ Branch go to www.nzcontractors.co.nz or
Phone 0800 692 376
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New anti-graffiti product Specialty chemicals company Sika has launched a new permanent, transparent coating product to help fight the good fight against unwanted, or untalented, graffiti artists. Sikagard-850 AG (the AG stands for anti-graffiti) can be applied to most building substrates, including wood and metal. Once a substrate has been coated with Sikagard-850 AG, tagging can be removed by water jetting, hosing with cold water, or simply rubbing with a wet cloth. Sika says there’s no need to use hot water or any aggressive, environmentallyunfriendly cleaning agents. The product is UV- and heat-resistant and water-vapour breathable. For more information visit sika.co.nz
Know your community? 100 ideas to help engage your community online Second Edition
www.bangthetable.com © Bang the Table Pty Ltd
100 ideas on getting engaged Online community engagement specialist Bang the Table has released an online booklet on ummmm.... online community engagement. The topic’s no surprise but the booklet’s full of good, practical snippets. And it’s free. Know your community? 100 ideas to help engage your community online can be downloaded from bit.ly/BangTheTable_100_Ideas
Road safety charity Brake is running a free online session for professionals with responsibility for at-work drivers, on the topic of identifying and addressing driver tiredness. It is open to health and safety staff, fleet managers, senior management staff, and anyone else with responsibility for at-work drivers in their organisation. Among other topics, speakers will discuss the causes of driver fatigue; sleep disorders; measures to help employers identify drivers who may be at-risk of fatigue, including drowsiness-recognition technology; and ways to raise awareness of fatigue through education and communication programmes. The webinar takes place on Wednesday November 1, 2pm3.30pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Air Springs Supply is introducing low-pressure cylindrical lifting bags that can smoothly and continuously raise loads of up to 12 tons by as much as 1000mm. The bags are designed for industrial, resources and emergency use. Pronal inflatable cushions offer stable lifting for tasks such as vehicle maintenance, moving and positioning machinery, turning over heavy loads, locking and holding machinery, and on-site repair and rescue operations on soft ground, sand, irregular surfaces, mud and snow.
United Forklift and Access Solutions is introducing its new Haulotte HT28 RTJ PRO Telescopic Boom to Australasia. It is suited to tasks requiring access equipment in industries such as building, construction and infrastructure, mining and maintenance of large structures. The boom lift has a maximum outreach of nearly 24 metres, below ground reach of three metres, and ground clearance of 48cm. It is compact, easily transported and said to offer excellent rough terrain capabilities.
Tell us about your products & services If you have recently launched a new product or service please email editor Ruth Le Pla for next steps on sharing your story with the people who make the buying decisions in local government. All articles published at the discretion of the editor. email@example.com
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OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
OPENING DOORS TO
CHINA 14 l www.localgovernmentmag.co.nz
REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Council relationships with China frequently get bogged down in controversy amid accusations that they fail to deliver tangible benefits to Kiwi communities. In the lead up to the New Zealand China Mayoral Forum in December, Ruth Le Pla looks at progress to date and better ways to build both relationships and business.
What’s the role of councils?
hen Invercargill deputy mayor Rebecca Amundsen returned from a recent trip to Suqian, in the northern part of China’s Jiangsu Province, the Invercargill Ratepayers Advocacy Group quickly questioned the value of the trip. Amundsen’s council / business delegation had signed a memorandum of understanding with its Chinese sister city. Not unreasonably, since ratepayers’ money had been spent, the advocacy group wanted to know what that was worth. More to the point, the group’s spokesman Nobby Clark suggested Invercargill’s relationship with its other sister city, Kumagaya in Japan, had already failed to provide much value even after 23 years. Rebecca listed the numerous opportunities that had been opened up on the visit to China. She noted that this was just the start and, among other initiatives, cited doors being opened for future exports of beef and sheep meat, dairy products, seafood, wood, wool and high-quality wool fashion products. The exchange was undoubtedly clouded by memories of the embarrassing stuff-up in 2015 when Invercargill councillors on a $21,000 ratepayer-funded trip to Suqian had bought cut-price Christmas lights that didn’t meet New Zealand safety standards. Councillors were accused of going on a junket. Mayor Tim Shadbolt apologised. The $5500 lights were replaced a year later with a $250,000 set of LED lights and decorations. At the other end of the country, Far North District Council deputy mayor Tania McInnes earlier this year questioned the order of events leading up to Chinese company TusHoldings signing a memorandum of intent with council. The usual democratic process would be for council to debate the idea first. In this case, it was reported that a delay could have put the offer at risk. As the NZ Herald reported, the deal on offer was significant: up to $1 billion investment in everything from cultural tourism to geothermal energy. Are trade delegations, sister city relationships and commercial agreements beyond the scope, and even abilities, of councils, as ratepayers’ groups often assert? Or do councils need to define and communicate their benefits more clearly? Part of the problem may be that it’s sometimes hard to pin exact dollars and benefits to high-level strategic gettogethers. Two years ago 12 New Zealand mayors went to Xiamen, China, to discuss opportunities for trade and investment at the inaugural New Zealand China Mayoral Forum.
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT In December this year, Chinese mayors will make a reciprocal visit to Wellington to continue the conversation. In a video on the LGNZ website, principal policy advisor Philip Shackleton says some 15 mayors from medium to large Chinese cities are expected to make the trip to Wellington. At the time the video was recorded, around 29 New Zealand councils had registered interest in attending. Philip is also LGNZ’s project manager for the 2017 NZ China Mayoral Forum. In the video, he said that, when surveyed, all the Kiwi mayors confirmed they got value from the investment in attending the earlier forum. No dollars are provided. But the video shows ‘tangible outcomes’ from the 2015 visit. These include high-level actions such as a commitment to the second forum in 2017. More specific outcomes include the launch of a New Zealand corner at the Xiamen Seashine Group supermarket promoting New Zealand wine and food products – which opens up a new distribution channel for our country. China watchers will know such gains are significant. But without actual dollars attached, councils remain open to criticism for spending ratepayers’ money. LGNZ president and Dunedin mayor Dave Cull says Chinese formalities can make it difficult to immediately put a specific value on some deals. An MOU may be signed, then a more detailed follow-up agreement. The dollars gained by the multiple parties involved may not be tracked and captured as a whole. “A few years ago...the Law Faculty [at Otago University] ran a course and for several years a number of people from the justice system in Shanghai would come across, do the course and pay for it.” Those sorts of things are “really easy” to quantify, he says. “Other kinds are not... It goes also to the issue of how the relationships are expressed.” (See the box story “Dunedin: Tangible recognition” for
Dunedin: Tangible recognition Dunedin mayor Dave Cull points to the Dunedin Chinese Garden as proof positive of the beneficial relationship his city has long enjoyed with Shanghai, China. He says the garden, opened in 2008, is the only authentic scholars’ garden in the southern hemisphere “and it was pretty much given to us”. Most of the funding came from Shanghai, he says. “All of the materials, all of the labour: everything came from, and was donated by, Shanghai.” According to an official website about the garden, it cost $7 million to construct. The New Zealand Government contributed $3.75 million of that. Some $1 million was raised through public donations and council gifted the land to the Chinese Gardens Trust. The garden seeks to create permanent recognition of the Chinese people who first came to Otago during the 1860s gold rush and stayed to establish some of the city’s businesses.
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more on Dunedin’s sister city relationship with Shanghai.) Dave also says ratepayer group criticism may touch on something even more fundamental. “I don’t think you will ever address the entrenched attitude of some people that councils should provide roads and pipes and keep out of everything else,” he says. “It’s a prejudice that ignores where councils can offer the most value – and I’m going way beyond discussing the China relationship now.” Dave posits that councils’ much wider role is about placemaking. “Everyone can put roads and pipes down. If you want to differentiate your town or region, and attract investors, residents and visitors, you have to make the place attractive to them. And part of that is building relationships.”
Tauranga and Auckland: Three-way interests
Niyan Terrace, Fuzhou, Jiangxi Province.
Tauranga’s sister city relationship with Yantai, in China’s Shandong Province, dates back to 1986. For some time now the two cities have been talking through the possibility of working more closely together on marine coastal science – an area that both are developing independently. Last year the two cities agreed to advance a deal between the University of Waikato’s coastal marine field station, which is based in Tauranga, and the Yantai Institute of Coastal Research. The Sino-New Zealand Coastal Innovation Partnership, as it has been tagged, will look at research and commercial opportunities in marine biotechnology and aquaculture. Tauranga also more recently formed a relationship with sister city Ansan, a coastal city to the southwest of Seoul in South Korea, setting up a tripartite grouping of cities all interested in marine coastal science. Similarly, Auckland is involved in a tripartite relationship with Guangzhou and Los Angeles.
BEING CHINA CAPABLE Alicia McKay is the director of Wellington-based boutique consultancy Structured Conversations. For the past eight years she has worked in local government policy and strategic planning: initially with Ashburton District Council and, for the past three years consulting with councils everywhere from Auckland all the way down to Gore. Alicia argues that many councils are already investing time and resources into relationships with China and numerous other countries, but the focus is primarily ceremonial. “They’re not able to transition those relationships from ceremonial, cultural exchanges into strategic, potentially economically-beneficial ones.” In a recent blog, she says the way forward lies in councils becoming “China capable”. That means having a clear idea of how to secure a share of the expected $30 billion twoway trade in goods, services and investment by 2020. According to Alicia’s colleague Kerry Boyle, current exports to China are worth about $8.5 billion a year. We earn some $1.5 billion from Chinese tourism. That figure is expected to double over the next five to six years. As is the approximately $800 million we earn annually from Chinese students studying here. Before joining Structured Conversations, Kerry spent the past three years working out of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade on its China Capable Public Sector Programme. This “whole of government” initiative aims to develop a China-savvy public sector armed with China awareness, knowledge, experience and leadership. Alicia suggests that, in similar vein, councils develop their own China Capability Statements that will provide a steer to transition existing relationships. She says most councils are currently engaging at some level, through trade visits, sister city partnerships or
Yantai, Shandong Province.
Far North and Kawerau: Strategic linchpins A council can act as a critical linchpin for local or regional economic goals. So says Structured Conversations director Alicia McKay, who cites the Far North District Council and Kawerau District Council as examples. She says both these councils are taking a leadership role in relationships with interested overseas parties in a locallydriven way. In the Far North that’s around a vision of lifting an economically-deprived area of New Zealand with infrastructure investments. With Kawerau District Council it’s about leveraging natural resources and a physical location connected to the Port of Tauranga – and starting to get investment in those connections. “Councils play a really critical leadership role in the future of their district or region,” she says. “If these relationships only take place at a central government, iwi or commercial level, there’s a danger that the overall strategic thread is lost and there’s a real loss of opportunity to use those relationships to contribute to that strategic vision.”
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REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
involvement in the upcoming New Zealand China Mayoral Forum in Wellington. But, as she tells Local Government Magazine, much of this work is not effective. “There are councils that have an international relations or sister city strategy... and there are work streams specific to China capability, often found within regional economic development strategy rather than council strategy. But I’ve yet to see a China capability strategy from a district or city council in New Zealand.”
LONG PROCESS Dave Cull says such capability statements could work but the process of doing business in China takes a long time. “One of the difficulties is you don’t know what you don’t know until you get there... We [Dunedin City Council] usually take people from the university, the polytechnic and the Chambers of Commerce. They have meetings and set things up, and some time later we go back. You can’t make the case for what you’re going to gain until you know what the potential is.” Alicia says the second crucial step is developing, and being able to explain to the wider community, a clear business case for a specific partnership. “Councils need to have objectives for these relationships and be able to demonstrate at a specific opportunity level a clear business case for moving forward. “Ashburton District Council springs to mind with the recent controversy about selling a piece of council land for a water bottling plant,” she says. “They needed to be able to say ‘this aligns with our objective for the community and here is the tangible benefit that we expect to be able to produce from this partnership’. In the case of the Far North District Council, she says
Hauraki: A clear strategy Hauraki District Council’s draft international relations strategy, prepared by specialist consultancy Eastern Bridge, provides some simple recommendations for how the council can lock in more opportunities. These include: • Establishing web pages in simplified Chinese; • P roviding training opportunities to support the council, businesses and organisations to become Asia-ready; • Formalising a process for handling incoming enquiries; • E ngaging with industry sector groups to encourage involvement in the international relations strategy; and • C ontinuing engagement with the community to encourage residents’ support and participation in the relationship. Hauraki has a sister city relationship with Jiading, a district in the Shanghai area.
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there was a “knee jerk reaction” to an impending Chinese delegation. That happened because there wasn’t already a plan in place defining the objectives of the relationship and any actions that might support them. “If the council had gone into the conversation with a very clear intention that would have completely changed how that situation played out.” She also says councils have to work with other stakeholders. Successful partnerships with China – the $180 million particle board plant in Kawerau or the $100 million Mataura Valley milk processing plant in Gore District – are “without fail” due to widening conversations and collaboration between council, iwi, regional economic development agencies, government departments and the local community.
JUNKET? Such joined-up thinking is second nature to Eastern Bridge founder and CEO Simon Appleton. His consulting company specialises in international relations focusing on East Asia in particular. Simon is the resident China expert in a series of six half-hour development videos produced by LGNZ’s commercial arm EquiP in advance of the December New Zealand China Mayoral Forum. He points out that many local governments in China also own large industries in areas such as agritech, food or infrastructure. They are responsible for their area’s education policy, handle international investment portfolios and are the very people who can issue permits and other official documents. So it is vital to build relationships with Chinese local governments at the very highest mayoral level and through each connected level of Kiwi communities: be that iwi, business or the tertiary sector. For Kiwi councils this is a
Rotorua and Queenstown: Dual destination approach Structured Conversations director Alicia McKay says she’s watching with interest how Rotorua Lakes District Council is developing its wider economic development strategy. “One of the tactics they are using, which seems to be proving effective, is taking a dual destination approach with Queenstown Lakes District Council. “This is really interesting because when we think about councils collaborating with each other we tend to think in blocks of regions or neighbours. “So to provide those two touchpoints for Chinese visitors, which they’ve solidified with a memorandum of understanding with China Southern Airlines, is really clever and quite strategic. I like that.”
relationship-building exercise on a massive scale. “But I think a lot of ratepayer groups, when they see the mayor going to China or Korea or wherever, automatically think ‘junket’,” he says. Structured Conversations’ Kerry Boyle says the same accusation is frequently aimed at central government agencies. “The ex Finance Minister of China, for example, travels with an entourage of 18 people wherever he goes. We have ministries who will send over one person to do entire negotiations.” Kerry says ministries don’t send over an entourage of five or six other people due to concerns about taxpayers’ accusations of the visit being a junket. “In fact, we’re missing an opportunity for these people to build their relationship at that next layer down that extends it to an organisation level. And at the same time the Chinese are thinking we can’t be serious by only sending over one person.”
SISTER, WIFE, MISTRESS Simon is not particularly impressed by how few Kiwi councils have leveraged their sister city agreements with their Chinese counterparts. He says many such longstanding
Eastern Bridge founder and CEO Simon Appleton says most councils think building relationships in China will cost a lot in both resources and time. While a small amount of layout is unavoidable it doesn’t need to be much, he says. “Many of my clients would spend between $15,000 and $25,000 a year and this would include a delegation to China. “For those starting out, and not planning an international trip, they could budget as little as $6000 a year. “This figure could include workshops with council stakeholders, development of a strategic plan, due-diligence and research, translation, training, identifying a new sister-city partner or looking for ways to commercialise an existing one.”
relationships are dormant, or ceremonial at best, while New Zealand mayors are off chasing business in other parts of China. This can be seen as a bit “disloyal” in Chinese eyes, he says. “It’s like having a wife and a whole load of mistresses.” He suggests there is “absolutely” more room for growth in many of these agreements. Councils should investigate how they can work more strategically with existing partner cities. Councils should sit down with their Chinese sister city counterparts to see if there is a willingness to look at more mutually-beneficial commercial opportunities. “They can probably reinvigorate the relationship. If they can’t, go through the process of divorce and set up a new partnership.” LG
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Dave Cull On knobs and knockers Dave Cull is LGNZ’s new president. The mayor of Dunedin talks with Ruth Le Pla about his background as handyman, TV presenter and author, and how he handles criticism of local government.
Local Government Magazine: Okay, let’s start with your background: political studies, furniture maker, carpenter, TV presenter, author of books on DIY, icebergs and weather, and mayor. Have I got that right? Dave Cull: I’ll give you a bit of a run down so you can see how I segued from one thing to another. I did work in the construction industry – not in any highly skilled way. I’ve worked with property developers. I worked as a carpenter in Britain. And as a result of that I got a job as a presenter on a DIY TV programme. They wanted someone who could talk and swing a hammer at the same time, I suppose. That was down in Dunedin and that was the start of about 20 years of presenting. I took a break when they stopped production in the provinces. Then I got some research, and then finally presenting work with TVNZ. That was the start of, I guess, 15 years of home shows and various other things: I was on Maggie’s Garden Show, Home Front, Open Home. Most of them were around housing, architecture, that kind of thing. How did all that follow on from political studies? There wasn’t any connection, really. Political studies taught me how to think. But the TV work segued into writing and through that period I wrote extensively, whether it was columns for newspapers or magazine articles. I’ve also written about 12 books on various things. Right, so you’ve written about DIY, icebergs and the weather... I became a writer initially around housing, design, architecture, DIY stuff. I worked with the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association and wrote a book on kitchens. A good friend of mine is a publisher so we came up with another couple of ideas. One was Central Otago wine and then we went out into other subject areas as they came along. The [Antarctic] iceberg sailed up the coast [of New Zealand in 2006] so we did a joint effort with the Otago Daily Times. They did the photos and I wrote the text. I wrote a couple of training manuals for the joinery ITO.
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Some of it was contract work. Some it was just, “oh that’s a good idea, let’s do it”. Do you get writer’s block? I’m a better writer now than I was. The first time I was asked to write anything was for The Listener. When it appeared I just about didn’t recognise it. I realised they’d greatly improved it and that taught me that you should always appreciate your editors. Did presenting come naturally? You learn to come to terms with your nerves. But it certainly stood me in good stead in my current role as mayor because, in the first instance, you’re more comfortable talking to a crowd and, second, you’re not afraid of cameras. How did you imagine your future when you were leaving high school? I had absolutely no idea. I started with a law degree. Let’s say it just didn’t entrance me. So you switched to political studies? I think I was already doing one unit so I just carried on and majored in it. How have these very different parts of your past shaped who you are and what you’re doing today? They fed into it but they didn’t provide all of the basis for how I think and my values because it’s a continual process of learning. I’ve learnt an unbelievable amount in the time I’ve been on council as mayor. I had reasonably strong values but because I didn’t know exactly how local government worked I didn’t have particularly clear views of what it should do. But, certainly, what I learnt once I got in built on what I’d learnt in other spheres. So many people comment on the complexities of local government. Is that your experience? I’ll give you an example. This term when the new Dunedin
City councillors came in, we got six new councillors out of 14. We ran a very comprehensive induction programme and it contrasted greatly with the measures that were taken to induct me in 2007. We were three new councillors when I came on. We were wheeled around the building to various departments and shown and told what those departments did. At no stage did anyone tell us what we did. That whole relationship between governance, and the management and operational side was just absent. So we’ve made a really big effort with our newbies this time. That relationship between the role of governors and the management / operational arm is still the critical one. It’s the one we all wrestle with. Do you still do DIY? If the handle fell off your office door would you fix it? Well, if the door knob fell off this office door I probably wouldn’t have time. But, yes, certainly at home I still do the odd thing. But my wife is very clear when there’s anything major to do I don’t do it because it would take too long. That’s always been the case. When we bought our house about 20 years ago I said, “it’s got a wonderful outlook and all-day sun”. And Joan said, “oh but the bathroom”. And I said, “oh yeah we’ll have to put a new bathroom in”. And then she looked at the kitchen which was in three rooms,
Step by step • Dave Cull first joined local government as a Dunedin City councillor in 2007. • T hree years later he won the Dunedin mayoral election beating off six other candidates, including incumbent mayor Peter Chin. Dave has been the city’s mayor ever since. •D ave has been one of the metro reps on the LGNZ National Council since 2010. • He became LGNZ vice president at the end of last year. •H e was elected as LGNZ president at the organisation’s AGM in July.
and I said, “oh no, we definitely need a new kitchen”. So we knew we had to spend quite a lot of money on a big upgrade. Joan said, “I agree to buy this house on two conditions. A, that we do it up and B, that you don’t do it.” What was the attraction of working in local government? As much as anything, it was the opportunity. I’d been interested for a few years but my work meant that I commuted to Auckland a lot. When my presenting work was replaced by
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PEOPLE writing, I could do that from home – although I must say I haven’t done a hell of a lot of that. Once I dived into local government I grabbed it with both hands. Was it the idea of giving back? Were there particular issues that you wanted to address? Or particular people that said, “come on, give it a go”? It was a bit of all that and a bit of “if you’re going to have opinions about this why don’t you do something about it?” I’ve always been interested in things. I’d be discussing with acquaintances and I might have strong views on something and people would say “well, why don’t you... you know, instead of just talking about it?”. Presumably, they thought I had something to contribute, too. I was encouraged by that. But, yeah, it’s actually about doing rather than just pontificating about something. Local government people often say they’re between a rock and a hard place. They consult too much / they don’t consult enough. They spend too much / they don’t spend enough. How do you respond when, say, at informal social events people criticise the work that your council does? Our council consults considerably more effectively and comprehensively now than we used to. We’ve developed a strategic framework over the past five or six years with just eight major strategies. Before that we used to have 50-something of them. Those have been built with the community. In the environment case, we did it with Ngai Tahu as a partner. So, I say to people the direction of the city has been worked up with the community. This comes to a head on subjects like cycleways. We’ve got a constant vociferous minority who bemoan the loss of a single car park because you’re putting a cycleway in to keep people alive on bikes. They keep saying “There are only a few users, you’re going to spend millions of dollars and no one’s going to use it, blah, blah...” I always go back to them and say that for every annual plan for the past five years, the vast majority of submissions have been about cycling in some form and encouraging us to
make it safer and put in more cycleways. So, I’m quite confident that the prevailing view from the community is “we want more of this particular service, please”. Does that go down well? It depends on the person. We’ve even got one councillor who argues that the people that make submissions on the annual plan are the more confident people. They’re more set in their views and we should ignore them and listen to the silent majority – which I’d have to say is a tad difficult given they don’t say anything. He is of the view that since he knows what the silent majority believe then all we’ve got to do is listen to him. You referred to your values earlier on. Are you able to articulate what they are? They’re around equity of opportunity in a community. Differences in opportunity really have a potential to split a community. If people don’t feel they have a stake and if they don’t think the community is inclusive of them why would they worry about it? That’s not just expressed in not voting; they become kind of alienated. Mayor John Carter from the Far North, maybe Meng Foon from Gisborne and Steve Chadwick [from Rotorua] will talk to you about a class of people that have separated themselves out completely from the community. There are probably bits of that all over the country and I don’t think Dunedin is by any means the worst but I’m conscious that a community has to be inclusive. How would you describe your style of leadership? I’m probably not the best person to answer that. I’m not dictatorial. I sometimes don’t say what I believe is the case right up front. I’m not afraid of my opinions but in a decision-making situation in a council meeting, if there’s a fairly important issue that we’re deciding on, I will often be the last to speak even though I’m chairing the meeting. I want the conversation to reach a consensus without it being rammed down anyone’s throat.
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How would you rate your abilities in Te Reo Maori? I’m very inadequate. I don’t speak Te Reo but I think it’s important to show respect. So when you use it, it needs to be meaningful and reasonably well pronounced. That’s part of a bigger thing. New Zealand needs to develop its persona as a Pacifica place. Te Reo Maori is the language of the place so it’s important to start with that, with the indigenous – the first people – expression. You spelt out your priorities as president in a recent column in the magazine. Is there anything you’d like to add? There were two priorities that I expressed in my speech at the AGM. The first being that we need to continue to ramp up our assertion of our sector, certainly vis-a-vis central government, and actually lead on some things. And that first one will only be effective if we achieve the second one, which is better engagement between national council and the wider membership. We’ve got a work plan that we inherited from last year. But the two extra issues that have come to the fore are climate change and water. They’re connected. They impact hugely on communities and councils’ activities in communities. That impact will only grow. Those two connected areas of policy development are going to be ramped up over the next year. I note that it’s not just LGNZ that’s identified this. We’ve had the recent report from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. If you just think about climate change alone, the Environmental Defence Society has come out with a statement, Generation Zero has done a huge amount of really productive work, there’s the Climate Consensus Coalition Aotearoa [initiated by the Wise Response Society]. It’s just one grouping after another, one stakeholder after another, saying this is really important. So it’ll be important for LGNZ to see where the alignments are and where the consensus is right across the community as we work on this. It may be we take a lead role but it certainly won’t be a sole role, that’s for sure.
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When I was at the LGNZ Symposium on Freshwater in Wellington earlier this year I was struck by the number of different voices included both as presenters and in the audience. Farmers, scientists, environmental lobbyists... all sorts of people having equal say. LGNZ seemed to have partly shifted its role there to a gatherer of different voices as opposed to just its own voice. Is that an accurate observation? I think that’s true. Council has a role as placemaker in a community. If you take economic development as an example: it’s not just about giving rates relief to businesses or giving them free land. It’s about working with the stakeholders in your community to make the whole place attractive to people to come to, to put businesses in or whatever. The council certainly can’t do that on its own but it’s the only entity that can facilitate that. I wonder if, at a national level, it’s a not dissimilar situation and we play a not dissimilar role. You’ve got Federated Farmers, the Iwi Leaders Group, scientists, pressure groups. But maybe local government as a sector is the only one with the ability to say, “Look, our communities are the ones affected by this. We need to take a facilitative leading role”. How will you measure your success as president of LGNZ? Do you have clearly defined aims? No, I haven’t quite got that specific. I’m conscious that it’s not Dave Cull saying, “This is what I believe we should be doing.” It’s national council which represents all the zones, all these sectors, and hammers out our position on something. Then it’s my job to articulate that and to communicate that with central government. And it’s national council’s role to articulate that back to the members and get buy-in as well. Not everyone is always going to agree. If you look at the subject of water, there are plenty of instances where the interests of, say, a district or city council are at odds with those of a regional council. Urban stormwater quality is a good example. We all want the same outcomes but it will affect us all quite differently, and we’ve got to find a path and address the issues together. It’s not about who will be the winner. LG
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Win for 15-year wastewater strategy The Timaru District Council’s Wastewater Strategy has been named as one of Australia and New Zealand’s most outstanding public works engineering projects. The council was recently presented with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Excellence in Water Project 2017 award for the Timaru Districtwide Wastewater Strategy at an awards dinner in Perth.
ack in 1997, Timaru District Council embarked on a strategy to upgrade its sewer system and wastewater treatment plants in the north-eastern part of the district. The strategy recognised the need to cease discharges to inland waterways and the Opihi River and its tributaries, rising standards for ocean discharges, and the need to upgrade or replace existing ageing and under-capacity pump stations and trunk sewer pipelines. Timaru District Council adopted an approach involving wide community and stakeholder engagement and consultation through a working party structure. This involved an independent facilitator, a wide range of stakeholder and community representatives, iwi and staff, and had support from specialist advisors. The manager of the DB Brewery in Timaru, Kim Haack, was involved in the development of the strategy. “As an industrial discharger to the Timaru District Council sewer network, we have been heavily involved in
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the development of the Timaru Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Strategy,” he said. “The Wastewater Working Party concept, which included representatives of industrial dischargers such as ourselves, ensured that the strategy was fit for purpose. “The implementation had been staged so that it was affordable and it allowed industries sufficient time to plan, fund and construct their own on-site wastewater treatment facilities. “This inclusive concept and the outcomes achieved over an extended timeframe have been really positive for the industrial sector and the Timaru District as a whole.” Timaru District Council engaged consultants Beca to carry out all the necessary technical work to implement the adopted strategy over approximately 15 years. This included preparing an Assessment of Environmental Effects for separate sets of resource consents for diversion of inland town effluent to the ocean outfall, continued use of the ocean outfall itself, and
What the judges said Judged by a panel of industry experts, the IPWEA awards finalists represented the industry’s best of the best, having already won their category from each Australian state and New Zealand between 2015 and 2017. The judges noted: “This project involved wide community and stakeholder engagement and consultation to arrive at a scheme that eliminates discharges to the river from the inland towns, by piping treated wastewater to the existing ocean outfall, replacing a network of pump stations and trunk sewers with gravity sewers, separating domestic and industrial flows, and upgrading the existing waste water treatment plant (WWTP) for treatment of the domestic wastewater stream. “It’s fantastic that Timaru District Council has remained on programme and completed the implementation plan that was set in place 15 years ago,” they concluded.
construction of the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) upgrades. Ashley Harper, group manager infrastructure at Timaru District Council, said that while the overall strategy had been implemented using well-known engineering practices and design techniques, there were a number of challenges to be met on the way. “Elimination of ongoing energy and maintenance costs associated with pump stations was the key driver in deciding to pursue a gravity trunk main system from the Timaru CBD to the Aorangi Road Treatment Plant eight kilometres away,” he said. “The available fall between both points resulted in the two gravity mains (one domestic and the other industrial) being laid at a gradient of 1:1800, which is extremely flat. “This required very careful computer modelling of pipe flow under a wide range of flow conditions and very precise construction. Six metre lengths of large diameter HDPE pipe had to be consistently placed with little more than 3.33mm fall. “The decision to implement a gravity system over this length also required construction of three tunnels through low-lying ridges between the Timaru CBD and Aorangi Road WWTP. “The task of connecting up the inland towns was also a major challenge. When it was constructed in 2003, the 35 kilometrelong inland town pipeline was the longest wastewater pipeline in New Zealand. The use of HDPE piping was still novel in the wastewater field in the South Island, and specialist advice was engaged to ensure that correct welding and installation was used.” The benefits of this project were: • Meeting compliance with the Opihi River Regional Plan by eliminating discharge from inland towns to water courses; • Replacement of an ageing trunk sewer network with new sewers constructed in modern materials with enhanced service life;
Images left and above: Timaru District Council's sewer upgrade.
• Elimination of pump stations and their associated energy and maintenance costs, as well as eliminating safety and welfare hazards associated with maintenance; • Separation of domestic and industrial effluent streams, resulting in very substantial capital cost savings on the Aorangi WWTP upgrade; • Retention of existing assets as part of overall strategy (utilising inland town ponds for buffering flows, Aorangi Road milliscreen plant treating industrial waste, existing ocean outfall); • Ease of operation of the overall scheme; • A community which is happy with the very affordable scheme for which the Uniform Annual Charge per property peaks at $374 (including GST) per annum, which is low by national standards; and • Trade waste charges to industrial dischargers of $0.66/cubic metre fixed charge and $0.11/cubic metre variable charge (including GST), which, again, is low and affordable by national standards. The overall Wastewater Strategy from 1997 to 2014 involved an expenditure of $60.7 million. The last phase of the strategy, the Aorangi Road Domestic WWTP ($19.1 million), was completed in January 2015. Timaru District mayor Damon Odey said it was awesome news that the project was getting the recognition it deserved. “Sometimes these long-term, large infrastructure projects can fly under the radar, so it’s great that a panel of engineering peers has recognised this project,” he said. “The award is testament to the vision, work and longterm commitment of this council, from past and present elected members, through to the excellent team within our organisation, and it shows that we are a forward thinking and leading council, producing some world-class work in Timaru. “The project has caused improvements for ratepayers, local businesses and the local environment, so it’s something that should be celebrated by the whole community.” LG
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
New York City New York Restoration Project In one of the most sophisticated cities in the world, the simplest form of community engagement is grafting together communities from the ground up.
lant by plant, tree by tree, for the past community by increasing social ties between the 22 years a charitable organisation has people there.” been helping transform some of the least These community engagement specialists are tasked loved parts of New York City. The New York with getting to know the individuals and organisations Restoration Project (NYRP) teams up with working in, or near, the community gardens. community members to plant patches of “In New York City only one in three high-need tranquillity amid the concrete. On pocket-sized families has a reliable internet service, and many of scraps of land, vege gardens, benches and play the people we serve are immigrants who don’t really areas now flourish where there was once litter, NYRP founder Bette Midler and speak English and don’t have a high level of digital executive director Deborah Marton. graffiti and vandalism. literacy,” says Deborah. “So we believe strongly that These community gardens serve as anything you have to be there and talk to people.” from simple social gathering places to urban farms and outdoor That means NYRP’s community engagement staff get out classrooms. and about, looking to form partnerships with organisations and And it all starts with someone from the NYRP’s community finding out exactly what local people want. engagement team dropping by for a simple chat. No sophisticated There’s an established process starting with engagement staff apps, online chats or other social media tools here. spending a full day in the area when they know there will be The NYRP was founded by Bette Midler – yes, the Bette foot traffic, and asking people what they would like to do in that Midler – back in 1995. The project aims to “make New York particular space. stronger one tree, garden and park at a time”. “We invite local schools, the community board, the local The community gardens part of its brief sits alongside a raft environmental advocacy groups, elected officials; so we cast a wide of other hefty initiatives. These include helping manage about net in terms of how we define the community,” says Deborah. 80 acres of parklands for the New York City Department of “People may tell us, ‘there’s a playground down the street but Parks and Recreation under a public private partnership (PPP) we could really use somewhere to grow vegetables’, or whatever. licence agreement. “Then we come back for a second meeting. Typically we will The NYRP also spearheaded the MillionTreesNYC PPP with show models because many people have trouble reading a plan. the department. The aim was to get a million trees dug in and Then at the third meeting we’ll bring a drawing and say ‘this is being looked after in just 10 years. The final tree went into the what we heard from you; you wanted these particular things’.” ground in November 2015: two years ahead of schedule. Deborah says the NYRP doesn’t ask local people to design While the NYRP works right across New York City’s five the areas themselves. “But we attempt to create a landscape that boroughs, its core community garden work is in some of the will serve multiple constituencies. We try to make flexible spaces. city’s lowest income communities such as Central Brooklyn, There might be an area with raised beds and maybe a quiet area Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. where seniors can sit and read. Executive director Deborah Marton visited Auckland “Some of our gardens have outdoor classroom areas with recently to present at the Resource Management Law movable blackboards for teachers. It really just depends on what Association (RMLA) #Liveable Conference. Speaking with people tell us about how they want to live and how they want Local Government Magazine prior to the conference, she said to use these spaces. For example, we have one garden where the NYRP employs five community engagement specialists. down the street is a collective of fabric artisans. They wanted to “The goal of their work is always pretty much the same,” grow plants that are used for natural dyes and give some of their she says. “It’s to build capacity and a sense of ownership in classes in the gardens. In exchange, they make sure the garden’s the communities. We want the land that we provide to become open for a certain amount of hours a week and help us care for a jumping-off point for building strength in that particular that space.” LG
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Curtis “50 Cent” Community Garden (Jamaica, Queens).
Essex Street Community Garden (Cypress Hills, Brooklyn).
Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (Kingsbridge, The Bronx).
Swindler Cove (Sherman Creek Park, Manhattan).
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
The next decade of IoT Report spells out opportunities for councils What’s not to like? In the next decade, better use of IoT could bring our country economic benefits worth $558 million in transport and logistics. Then there could be $128 million in city infrastructure management and $27 million from managing car parking in cities. Kriv Naicker is executive director of the recently-formed NZ Internet of Things Alliance. He talks with Ruth Le Pla about how the Alliance could help local authorities.
arlier this year the government set a new target to have 90 percent of the country’s lakes and rivers reach swimmable water quality standards by 2040. Currently just 72 percent meet the standard. Kriv Naicker, executive director of the recently-formed NZ Internet of Things Alliance, reckons sensors, automation and robotics could make a substantial contribution towards that target. But wait, there’s more. For councils, the Alliance is about much more than water. Kriv pitches the new group as a one-stop shop for consolidating councils’ understanding of efforts to date in the sensing environment. That spans transport and logistics, smart city initiatives, environmental concerns, waste minimisation, emergency management and more. “The Alliance wants to break down some of the sales pitches from a lot of companies and get down to the crux of what the value is for cities.” The Alliance itself is still very much in its infancy. Launched by then-Communications Minister Simon Bridges earlier this year, it released a major new report just a few months ago. Among other things, the report provides anecdotal and case-based examples of where internet of things (IoT) can add significant value to local councils. In its report Accelerating a Connected New Zealand the Alliance notes that Wellington City Council, for example, intends to make its non-private IoT-generated data open to third parties to find new value by reusing that data. “Data is the new currency and can easily be monetised.” The same council is also experimenting with using stereoscopic cameras to count people at different choke points in the city. “A city can use data to start to understand the economic return on public events,” the report notes. Wellington is also using data collected from sensors to create evidence-based policy on highly-charged and often
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contentious issues, such as homelessness. Meanwhile, Porirua City Council’s Works Depot unit has 31 response vehicles fitted with the EROAD fleet management system which also functions as an emergency response tool. And Auckland Transport has been running a pilot to connect electronic school zone safety signs – traditionally operated manually via a short-range radio frequency link – to an IoT network. This provides an easy way to see if the safety signs are working or not. Kriv tells Local Government Magazine the report investigates what’s happening in both supply and value chains. “It takes stock of the scale of opportunity in terms of GDP growth in some of these areas and where IoT could lead us.” Totting up the opportunities, the report identifies at least $2.2 billion in net economic benefit to the country in the next 10 years: all this from better use of IoT. “One of the big opportunities for city councils right now is the transport sector,” says Kriv. “These opportunities lie in journey management, journey planning and helping with identification via various sensors: biometric, atmospheric and environmental.” The big deal lies in the data collection. “If, incrementally, we added many more data points from sensor collection into the decision-making processes, how much more relevant does it make information-sharing to ratepayers, tourists and businesses? And what’s the value of that increased level of information?” Kriv says IoT provides a much more granular and effective way of managing entire systems. “Looking at emergency services or transport or general safety within the city, the collection mechanism on the back of these sensors just makes the information available to all
Kriv Naicker: The Alliance wants to break down some of the sales pitches from a lot of companies and get down to the crux of what the value is for cities.
Smart on-street car parking in cities Smart on-street car parking systems aim to improve utilisation of on-street parking and reduce the time that drivers spend searching for a place to park. This can be achieved via a combination of providing better information to drivers about where available parking spaces are, and dynamic pricing to better manage demand. The following analysis focuses on the value of on-street car park search time saved by drivers, estimated to be $71 million per year if all metered parking in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch converted to smart systems.
Source: NZ IoT Alliance report: “Accelerating a Connected New Zealand”. www.iotalliance.org.nz/report/
– Smart Parking Net Economic EconomicBenefit BenefitAssumptions Assumptions – Smart Parking Assumption
Benefits assumptions 729 million hours of car driving time per year (drivers and passengers)
Ministry of Transport travel survey
1% of all driving time spent searching for metered parking
Scaled down estimate based on bit.ly/UCTC_FreeParkingMarkets
Travel time valued at $10.66/hour for drivers and $8.01/hour for passengers
NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual
15% reduction in parking search time with smart parking systems
Scaled down estimate based on bit.ly/SFPark_SmartParkingSystems
Costs assumptions $5000 capital cost per parking meter
1400 metered parking spaces in cities
810 in Auckland (bit.ly/GETS_Akl_PayDisplayMeterUpgrade), 300 in Wellington (bit.ly/ STUFF_WgtnSensorCarParks), Remaining (290) assumed for other cities
Annual operational costs 10% of deployment cost
Estimate based on judgement
Uptake assumptions Rolled out to all metered car parks in cities.
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
$64m Baseline (NPV) $128m High (NPV) $192m
to be based on actual condition, rather than pre-defined schedules as is largely the case at present. While some infrastructure will need maintenance earlier than expected, in aggregate it is expected that there will be cost savings as fixed maintenance schedules are usually conservative in the sense that maintenance is usually planned earlier than required. It is estimated that 10% of infrastructure maintenance costs could be saved, generating annual gross benefits of $78 million if such technology is deployed in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. A medium level
of uncertainty has been assessed for these estimates, as without detailed analysis of existing maintenance patterns the potential for maintenance cost savings is not well understood.
More efficient local government infrastructure maintenance in main cities It is expected that local government agencies can reduce infrastructure maintenance costs through the analysis of better data about the condition of various infrastructure that they are responsible for maintaining. Ten percent of infrastructure maintenance costs could be saved, generating annual gross benefits of $78 million if such technology is deployed in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. A medium level of uncertainty has been assessed for these estimates.
Net Economic Benefit Assumptions – City Infrastructure Assumption
Benefits assumptions $15.7 billion of infrastructure assets owned by Auckland Council (incl. Auckland Transport), Christchurch City Council and Wellington City Council
Statistics New Zealand (2015 data)
Annual infrastructure maintenance costs of 5% of asset value
Estimate based on interviews
10% infrastructure maintenance cost savings with IoT
Estimate based on interviews
Costs assumptions Total deployment costs $120 million for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch cities
Estimate based on interviews
Annual operational costs 10% of deployment cost
Estimate based on judgement
Uptake assumptions after 10 years Deployment in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch cities only
Assumption based on judgement
Source: NZ IoT Alliance report: “Accelerating a Connected New Zealand”. www.iotalliance.org.nz/report/ 84
people that engage with city infrastructure a lot richer.” In a recent press release, Kriv says the country can quickly learn from other nations. “We can use sensors to monitor water quality, water levels, nutrient flows and
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other metrics, analytics to quickly understand what is happening where on the farm, and automation and robotics to adjust delivery of nutrients and water to reduce impact on waterways.” He notes Californian avocado growers have used soil moisture sensors, analytics and water automation systems to reduce their water usage by 75 percent. Back on local soil, he says a water sensor that will allow people to check the health and safety of waterways has recently been tested on the Manawatu River near Palmerston North. And he says the advantages of being able to remotely track, IoT-monitor and then report on the condition of a herd of cows or flock of sheep or quality of water “introduces huge efficiencies” for modern farmers. “They can be alerted to various scenarios in advance and save both time and money by not having to patrol and survey, using satellite technology to receive information in a proactive fashion.” Kriv says good examples of companies providing sensors for the quality of lakes and rivers include Riverwatch Water Tester in the Wairarapa, Waterforce in Canterbury and KotahiNet in Wellington. “In addition, Spark, Vodafone, Thinxtra and Kordia are rolling out IoT water management solutions,” he says. The Alliance’s recent report puts potential savings from better use of IoT in water metering alone at $25 million over the next 10 years. Kriv sees the report as a catalyst to bring IoT sector players together and get local councils involved in pinpointing changes, opportunities and solutions. “It’s about breaking down some of the barriers to adoption of those solutions... The report sets a baseline to take stock of where IoT is at currently and the potential to drive economic growth.” LG • To read the report go to: www.iotalliance.org.nz/report/
Hand in hoof Deer farmers and council officers forge partnerships Two award-winning deer farmers are working with regional council officers to improve and protect water quality on their properties. Phil Stewart tells their story.
habor, which farms 982 hectares of rugged hill country at Oparau, southwest Waikato, is the 2017 winner of deer farming’s premier Elworthy Environment Award. The shareholders say they are working closely with Waikato Regional Council, particularly technical officer Callum Bourke, to build a profitable farming business while ensuring water leaving the farm is clean. Two of the company shareholders, Steve and Judy Borland, live on the Oparau farm. The other two, Bob and Jacqui Sharp, live two-and-a-half hours away at Whakamaru. The farm is at the top of a catchment that feeds into Aotea Harbour on the west coast and the Borlands – Steve, Judy and son Chris – are acutely aware that this is where the water running off the farm ends up. When Sharbor bought the run-down farm three years ago they knew there would be challenges. It’s wet country that reliably grows plenty of grass, but its ash-over-clay soils are environmentally sensitive. Steve could see he’d have to work carefully within the farm’s limits and it didn’t take him long to conclude that cultivation, winter cropping and self-feed silage pits would be non-starters.
He has been delighted to see that despite national and regional political battles over water policy, he’s been able to work very constructively with Waikato Regional Council at a grassroots level. “I have to commend their attitude,” Borland says. “They’ve been very accommodating and understand what we are trying to do.” He also has praise for the council’s sustainable agriculture coordinator, Bala Tikkisetty, who has worked alongside deer farmers like the Borlands for many years on water quality issues. So far the Borlands have put in two kilometres of fencing to exclude all stock from a stream that skirts their farm. They have also started a $142,000 fencing programme to protect the farm’s main waterway from where it enters the property – from a fenced-off bush block – to its exit on the downstream boundary. This project is being part-funded (35 percent) by Waikato Regional Council and is expected to take two to three years to complete. AgResearch will be monitoring the stream for sediment, nitrates, phosphates and E. coli bacteria. With help from the NZ Landcare Trust, the Borlands have completed their Stage 1 and Stage 2 Farm Environment Plans, so have a clear idea of the property’s constraints and opportunities.
Chris Borland, Steve Borland and Bob Sharp of Shabor, winners of the deer industry’s premier Elworthy Environment Award.
Millie, Lyndon and Eldon Matthews, winners of the Duncan NZ award for vision and innovation in the 2017 Deer Farmers Environment Awards.
“We use a few cattle for pasture control but they aren’t great for this country so we’re keeping their numbers low. The breeding hinds that supply our velvet antler business and sheep are well suited to this country.”
Innovation Also featuring in the 2017 Deer Farmers’ Environment Awards were North Canterbury deer and sheep farmers Lyndon and Millie Matthews, who won the Duncan NZ award for vision and innovation. Lyndon, who says he “hates erosion with a passion”, is working closely with his regional council on environmental protection initiatives. With the help of his son Eldon, he put together a Farm Environment Plan for their Waikari farm, following a Beef+Lamb NZ environment workshop. Lyndon says his son is on first-name terms with the Environment Canterbury staff who look after their area. “I can’t speak highly enough of the regional council people we have worked with. They are very pragmatic and prepared to come out and talk over things we are planning, such as a sediment trap.” He says their winning of an environment award – the family has won several over the past 10 years – has also encouraged other local deer farmers to approach regional council staff for advice on environmental mitigation work. Lyndon concludes that looking after deer well, with good feeding, shade, shelter and minimal stress, goes a long way towards reducing the environmental impacts of farming them. LG • Phil Stewart is editor of Deer Industry News. email@example.com
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
Teams and centralised training John Pfahlert says changes are needed to improve civil defence emergency response.
he creation of properly-trained teams able to take over regional controller roles in major emergency events and re-establishing centralised training would help improve civil defence responses in natural disasters. These are two changes that Water New Zealand and the Engineering Leadership Forum are calling for in their joint submission to the government as part of its review into how to improve civil defence emergency response. The review aims to provide the Minister of Civil Defence with advice about the most appropriate operational and legislative mechanisms that would support effective responses to natural disasters and other emergencies. It also aims to ensure New Zealand’s emergency response framework is world leading and well placed to meet future challenges. Water reticulation networks and services are key parts of infrastructure that are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes and flooding. The Engineering Leadership Forum is advocating for the creation of properly-trained teams of experts to be deployed by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) to assist local authorities and lifeline utilities, and to take over regional controller roles in significant emergencies. These teams should come from civil defence and emergency management leaders and be properly trained including in ‘judgement and decision-making’. There are no schools that currently teach that in New Zealand.
personal development plan and learning journal. While this is an excellent course, there are concerns from smaller councils about the cost and time commitment required from their staff. MCDEM should be tasked and funded to deliver a national civil defence and emergency management (CDEM) training programme for both CDEM professionals and prospective volunteers. CDEM leaders, specifically MCDEM, need to be operationally focused, and engaged in training and capability building, establishing minimum requirements for councils and utilities for compliance with the Act, and implementing compliance audits.
Our submission also suggested a system of centralised civil defence training needs to be re-established in New Zealand. We believe there is a need to re-open the civil defence training school that once existed. Current training does not deal with situations where resources and capability to respond are overwhelming, and does not teach understanding of judgement with limited information. Following the 2010/11 earthquakes, a new Controllers’ Training Programme was established at Massey University. This three-stage programme including a six- to eight-week course of self-directed study is supported by a series of online videos, exercises, resources and a networking forum with the training cohort. It is followed by a week-long residential component of lectures, presentations and exercises, along with a
The placement of MCDEM within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet diminishes the status of the director. It is considered MCDEM would be better placed within a ‘practising’ ministry. The ‘maximum autonomy’ status of the director should be reinstated with direct and unequivocal reporting to the minister. The appointment of the director should reflect the decisionmaking powers implied by this. It is a practising role – not an oversight or policy role. The role and accountability of government ministries under the Act should be strengthened and made more explicit. The monitoring role of MCDEM everywhere needs to be strengthened and MCDEM made more accountable. LG
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Risk reduction While the CDEM system is wholly focused on the improvement of emergency preparedness and response, risk reduction initiatives could substantially reduce the impact of natural events and should be an important and mandated part of CDEM processes. One of the most serious deficiencies in the current CDEM system is the lack of incentives and process to enable lifeline utilities to be more resilient and to improve the resilience of their networks. The Act requires utilities to be resilient, but there is no systematic assessment of utility resilience, nor of the resilience of utility systems. The establishment of agreed service targets after disaster would provide a basis for planning the improvements required.
• John Pfahlert is CEO of Water New Zealand. firstname.lastname@example.org
Urgently-needed changes ahead
Havelock North Inquiry Stage 2
With the Stage 2 inquiry hearings now complete, it’s timely to look at the possible direction in which the inquiry may be headed. Water New Zealand’s technical manager Noel Roberts attended the hearings. These are some of his observations.
t’s clear that the inquiry will result in a raft of recommendations that will likely have long-term implications for the way drinking water is managed in this country. And it’s important that councils and service providers stay across developments – as a number of these changes are likely to happen quickly. That’s why we at Water New Zealand are lining up to respond on behalf of the sector. During the week-long hearing in August, it became clear there was considerable frustration on the part of panel members at the lack of leadership being exhibited by the Ministry of Health. Justice Stevens was clear that he wanted the Ministry to make some much-needed changes quickly. In the weeks following the hearing the ministry has done the following: • Started the process of establishing a drinking water expert advisory committee that will provide independent scientific and technical advice on current and emerging issues related to drinking water quality; • Drafted a consultation with industry document on changes to the drinking water register to collect a broader range of information; • Begun the process of including critical control points in water safety plans. The inquiry heard evidence on the lack of compliance with the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand (DWSNZ) and it seems likely there will be a more rigorous approach to enforcement going forward. There was considerable discussion on the shortages of drinking water assessors (DWAs). Changes were suggested to their qualification requirements to ensure they are better suited through an industry background. The observation
was – how could they effectively police the sector if they didn’t know how a water treatment plant operated? There was discussion on the need for a separate regulator for the water sector. That is, removing the function from the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards, and establishing a separate unit reporting directly to the Minister of Health. This may be a bridge too far, but in any event may not be needed if the Ministry of Health takes a greater leadership role and DWAs are better resourced to do their job. Most of the expert evidence supported the mandatory treatment of public water supplies: the only exception being as a result of expert demonstration of technical criteria yet to be determined. The topic of certification for treatment plant operators, supervisors and managers also had a good airing. Water New Zealand was asked to report back to the inquiry by September 22 on progress with the proposal we tabled, recognising that the proposal may be subject to change and a project plan would need to be created. There was discussion on the inadequacy of training and certification for people taking water samples; whether the drilling standards and bore construction standards are fit for purpose (not really); whether the process for recognising approved water testing laboratories was appropriate (serious doubts); whether continued used of E. coli as an indicator of contamination was appropriate (no); and whether the secure bore water status in the DWSNZ should be retained (probably not). Expect changes in all these areas. LG •N oel Roberts is technical manager at Water New Zealand. email@example.com
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
Democracy vs technocracy A mixed model of governance? More reliance on CCOs? Or should local body engineers just step up their game? Vaughn Crowther argues it’s time to have ‘the’ debate.
or anyone who has visited Queenstown in the past three years, the first impression on leaving the airport will be of congestion and construction. Queenstown is scrambling to get ahead of growth. Admittedly, its traffic problems are not on the scale of Auckland’s. But the town’s prosperity depends solely on delivering a world-class visitor experience. And tourists don’t expect to pay a premium for traffic jams and delays. The new Kawarau Falls Bridge, Queenstown, is due to open mid-2018. That’s two years ahead of its original date but some would say 10 years after it was needed. By waiting for traffic problems to arise before fixing them, is Queenstown signalling that its primary export – the visitor experience – is not a priority? Small towns with big-city problems are not confined to Queenstown. Many parts of New Zealand must confront problems much larger than themselves: • Over 10,000 residents of low-lying South Dunedin face the real threat of sea level rise in the next 30 years. The area under threat is 10 times larger than the Christchurch red zone. • Since last year’s water contamination incident in Havelock North, we have discovered that many of our 1174 drinking water schemes are not as safe as previously believed (Ministry of Health, 2017). Many will require greater treatment or new water sources to be found. • House prices are well beyond the reach of most New Zealanders. Our inefficient land use consenting process is often cited as the mechanism that keeps supply safely slower than demand. • Over the next 10 years, local and central government and the private sector will spend over $100 billion of CAPEX on infrastructure (National Infrastructure Unit of NZ, Treasury, 2016). • Compounding all of this is ageing infrastructure and an ageing workforce of technical experts. I am an engineer and many local government engineers I talk with feel their ability to fix these problems is constrained. I am increasingly being told these problems are beyond the capability of elected representatives and that the participative model of local government simply paralyses decision-making. There is a growing sentiment that when it comes to
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The new Kawarau Falls Bridge, Queenstown.
infrastructure and land use planning, council officers just need to be delegated the authority to get on with the job. We can counter-argue that an engineer has a duty to provide expert advice that will lead the public to take the correct course of action. We cannot, after all, prosper from technological advancement without depending on the authority of experts. There are as many famous examples of failed technocracies as there are of ineffective democracies. So perhaps the problem lies with our risk-averse engineers and their inability to be audacious, persuasive and innovative? The failed technocracy of the old Eastern bloc countries was known for its ability to produce ‘what the people needed’. This debate is career-limiting for politicians and for engineers (hopefully, not for me). It shouldn’t be, though, because a democracy only gets stronger when it is put under stress. If you don’t adapt ahead of change, change is thrust upon you.
So, how else could our system work? It is time to start asking direct questions and, hopefully, remove the stigma from the debate. A mixed model of governance is one idea. It is designed to provide complementary expertise with an elected representative majority.
Environment Canterbury (ECan) currently operates under this model, with seven elected councillors and up to six appointed. The District Health Board model is similar, with seven elected members and up to four appointed. For both models, appointments are made to complement the skills and experience of those elected in order to deliver the organisation’s objectives. Considering the bow wave of experienced engineers due to retire in the next 10 years, I don’t anticipate a shortage of available appointees.
Would an organisation established purely to deliver core services make a difference? Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) are already providing core services to many councils in our largest cities: think Auckland Transport, Watercare and Wellington Water. Councils in smaller regions could form a regional CCO by placing their infrastructure assets in its management (not ownership). Councils could appoint board members who would in turn employ people with the technical expertise to deliver core services. Obvious benefits include economies of scale of expertise and resources for each individual council. Technical experts could also get the opportunity to advance their skills by working in a large organisation.
Or do our technical experts simply need to lift their game? Ultimately, this lies at the heart of the debate. I am increasingly hearing from engineers that the advancement of the public works profession has plateaued. Cynically, it seems a good public works engineer is now judged on their ability to comply with processes and regulations rather than on their ability to resourcefully solve problems. Ironically, this is a result of regulatory changes focused on ensuring ratepayers get value for money. Yet, all this seems to have done is further instil an environment of fear and risk aversion. When you are not comfortable with risk, you over-insure yourself by throwing more resources at the problem. Welcome to the downward spiral.
So perhaps this debate is ultimately about trust? Maybe we should simply trust in a system that has 2000 years’ worth of trial and error. Perhaps we should trust that it will eventually work as it is supposed to. I don’t know how much longer people can wait, though. Especially those tourists still sitting in traffic outside Queenstown Airport. LG • Vaughn Crowther is infrastructure advisor at Rationale. firstname.lastname@example.org
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OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
New times: New model Former Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker calls for a 21st century model for local government.
ocal government is a big and complex business with many moving parts, and I wonder if the existing model is delivering full potential for communities. Councils across New Zealand look after significant assets, and every aspect of individuals’ daily lives is impacted by council decisions. Water and wastewater, rubbish collections, roads and footpaths, traffic light sequences, parks, swimming pools, art centres, stock effluent and crossings, how close to the boundary your house can be built, will the shops be open at Easter, how clean our waterways are. The list is endless. It’s a tough job being a councillor in local government; balancing infrastructure investment with community needs, investing for the future to avoid being left behind while responding to the wants of diverse communities that have little understanding of regional challenges or any other group’s interests – all that matters is their own backyard. Councillors have an almost paranoid obsession with keeping rates low. On top of that, governments can pass on decision-making (and implementation costs) often without any
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consideration of the impact. Recent examples of that include local alcohol plans which have cost councils thousands of dollars in public consultation and court battles. The average voter has too busy a life to be across all the information of council and central government to offer valuable perspective and make fully-informed decisions themselves. When I was mayor, I often found voters confused over which branch of government made which decision about various aspects of their lives. In this world of information overload, many of us yearn for the days when things seemed simpler. Yet I have seen that many councils spend a lot of time procrastinating. They use information-gathering and community consultation as a tool to avoid making difficult decisions. There has been a long history of bold decisions costing politicians their jobs. The result of this is often slow, cumbersome and watereddown decision-making and sometimes even decision avoidance. The public and business community lose interest because they think they cannot work with, or change, the system. I understand. Negative media coverage and public criticism
cost votes. The voice of New Zealanders (social media) doesn’t get excited about bold decisions. I found the voice often critical and attacking of change. And here we are today; voter turnout in local government elections is the lowest it’s been in decades. That’s despite campaigns by the sector to get the public excited about participating in the local government process and voting. The current local government framework is decades old. The last major change was in 1989. Looking back, I wonder if the pace of change in the information age and the busyness of people’s lives are impeding people’s ability to make a valuable contribution to public processes under the current framework. Is the framework right? Does it need to change to improve engagement outcomes with communities and to get the public’s confidence back? Is the current local government model the right one to grapple with the costs of the future? The structure of decision-making and the ability to generate revenue has remained pretty much the same for almost 30 years. Apart from forming the Auckland Supercity and a few boundary changes, council boundaries have been the same as well. Councils derive their revenue from rates. Only a few of
them are lucky enough to have other revenue streams. This means most councils are strapped for cash. Some councils have a handful of ratepayers but thousands of tourists. They are expected to provide and pay for all the infrastructure that is needed to service tourism such as highstandard roads. People want efficient timely decisions that don’t break the bank. Councils need the funding mechanisms to enable them to deliver now and in the future. Rates revenue isn’t enough. Councillors need to make decisions themselves without constantly asking the people who put them there to decide for them. The operating model for local government needs to be one for the 21st century: where change is happening rapidly, where decisions are made at the pace of the private sector, where boundaries are no longer the determinant of communities and people have high expectations about the environment in which they live. LG • J ulie Hardaker served two terms as mayor of Hamilton and is principal at Auckland law firm Chen Palmer. She is also a member of the Superdiversity Centre. Julie.Hardaker@chenpalmer.com
IT’S PAY-OFF TIME! Tourism New Zealand’s new, global strategy is going to be an economic goldmine for this country’s regions. We can say that with absolute confidence because of the success of our own off-the-beaten-track strategy over the past three years. Now the NZMCA’s 47 Motorhome Friendly destinations are in prime position to cash in on the benefits of TNZ’s expanded strategy. Congratulation to those regions which have already shared our off-the-beaten-track vision and taken action to ensure that their communities could benefit from the tourism boom. For you, this is pay-off time! To find out how becoming Motorhome Friendly can benefit your community, call Gillian Rutherford today.
New Zealand Motor Caravan Association | P 09 298 5466 | www.mhftowns.com | www.nzmca.org.nz OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
N I S N O I T A V O IN N
Agile office fit-outs, better processes for screening and selecting contractors, and more professional asset management practices are driving improvements in how councils manage their property portfolios. Patricia Moore investigates.
ith local bodies responsible for some of the country’s largest and most valuable property portfolios, there’s a growing emphasis on adopting innovative techniques and technologies to make the management process more efficient and improve the quality of information available. The sector is evolving in a number of ways, reports Tony Anderson, senior asset manager with Calibre Group. He highlights three significant areas: • Increasing and improving the use of technology to collect, store and manipulate layers of information; • Using proven asset management processes to more effectively manage assets over their life (with risk profiling featuring in decision-making); and • A change in mindset – understanding asset management and consideration of ‘whole of life’ is more than just a compliance and audit requirement. “Asset management that has previously been undertaken to pass audits is now recognised as an important philosophy in the management of property asset portfolios,” he says. “The main driver for this is new and more cost-effective technologies and better understanding of the intergenerational role that local government property management entails.” Paul Ivory, executive member of the Local Authority Property Association (LAPA) and Auckland Council corporate property coordinator, says the LAPA is seeing a paradigm shift in the way the local government sector is managing its property portfolio. “Fundamental to these changes is the need to be increasingly flexible to respond to changing demands from our customers and communities. “There’s a growing trend to introduce agile work practices, or activity-based working, that support increased workforce mobility and connectedness between staff and customers, leading to potential efficiency and effectiveness gains.” Councils are supporting these work practices by investing in agile office fit-outs and devices such as laptops, smart
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phones and cloud-based computing, unlocking the worker from the workstation and enabling staff to take their work to their customers. Auckland Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Tauranga City Council have already started working towards this model. But it’s not just innovative technology that’s ringing the changes for local government. Craig La Hood, GM NZ at Programmed Property Services, cites streamlining the number of contractors and a growing preference for preferred suppliers. This gives better cost control, he says, and, through screening and pre-qualifying, reduces risk. “In our experience, such suppliers offer assurance of consistency and continuity. Consistency ensures all assets are maintained to the same level, continuity ensures the same processes for safety and quality are employed. “This is key because local government property portfolios span multiple sites and consist of assets varying in size, location and condition.”
From left: Tony Anderson (Calibre Group) & Paul Ivory (Local Authority Property Association). Opposite: The new Te Awamutu Library. Calibre Consulting is working with Waipa District Council on developing a depreciated replacement valuation schedule to allow capitalisation of the project.
Craig says his firm is also seeing a trend towards outsourcing property maintenance. “It’s important but it’s not a core business focus for local government.” He says outsourcing maintenance has been shown to yield better outcomes, such as utilisation of resources, freeing up of time, extending asset life-cycle, “and, of course, visibly improved properties and assets, even where costs remain the same”. And, he says, although it’s not new, the idea of building in long-term maintenance that incorporates site upgrades allows local bodies to amortise costs, including upgrades, enabling them to do more with less. “This further helps maximise returns on the dollars spent on upgrades by retaining the ‘as new’ condition for the long term and alleviates pressure to spend on new builds.” The traditional approach to property management was reactive, says Paul, “mainly concerned with maintaining bricks and mortar, and business-as-usual repairs and maintenance. “Innovations in the sector are enabling councils to work in a more future-focused way. Local authorities are more connected and information flows faster with staff and customers; there are increased opportunities to connect with customers through digital channels; and real estate efficiency, at a lower cost per person, is increased.” Tony says the availability of sound information, along with the sharing and accessibility of data through new approaches like the National Metadata Standards Project, means local bodies are able to make better decisions and enjoy greater efficiencies in managing portfolios. But, he points out, to provide robust information to decision makers, it’s important council officers have the training and understanding of the tools and software available. “And,” he says, “despite increasing pressures placed on local bodies by ageing property infrastructure, it’s an exciting and challenging time for property management in the local government sector as the focus moves away from three-waters and transportation and back to property and community assets.” LG • Patricia Moore is a freelance writer. firstname.lastname@example.org
An Exeloo unit was relocated from its original site six years after installation. The relocation avoided costly demolition and enabled the asset to be redeployed to stand next to several new Exeloo units on the Picton foreshore.
Whatever the weather Extreme weather events across the country have seen infrastructure services become reluctant experts in property asset management in times of crisis, and highlighted the need for swift responses to uncertain and quickly changing directions. That’s according to Exceloo group sales and marketing manager Craig van Asch, who says many such assets are vital to ensuring communities can operate after such an event. “In our category, operational public toilets that can withstand these events are increasingly seen as vital infrastructure investments; when selecting best-practice property assets, incorporating considerations around disaster recovery is becoming increasingly important.” Craig says developments in frame and connection systems incorporating plug-and-play technology mean buildings can be relocated to stable ground, not written off and slated for rebuilding, after an event. “New products like our flood protection kit, designed for use in flood-prone locations, allow automated toilets to have their ‘brain functions’ disconnected and physically removed in the event of an impending flood. Again, this extends the life of the asset.” Writing off expensive building assets is a costly exercise and replacements can take a long time to prepare, says Craig. “Meanwhile the community suffers. For managers in times of crises, the comfort of knowing public toilet assets – often the cornerstone of a public sanitation plan – can be back up and running, often within a few hours – allows the focus to be placed on other pressing priorities.”
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
This presentation won the E J (Ted) Hooper Medal for the best overall paper at the 2017 IPWEA International Public Works Conference in Perth recently. The award was presented at the inaugural IPWEA Australasia Excellence Awards.
DIVERSITY POWERS INNOVATION WELCOME TO YOUR MUCH BRIGHTER FUTURE AND SOME SERIOUS COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
CONCLUSION Priyani de Silva-Currie (left) & Samantha Almeida (both from Calibre Consulting)
ABSTRACT If you believe that you have to be smarter or have clever ideas to innovate, think again. Although those attributes help you, the most powerful but least understood force for innovation is diversity. It’s truly the best possible competitive advantage you’ll ever have and one of the easiest to uptake. If fostering creativity, guiding business strategy, promoting outof-the-box thinking, and encouraging new ideas, services and products are important to you, you need to hear our story. Our full paper: 1. Explains why diversity trumps ability, powers innovation and provides a redefinition of top talent. 2. Provides evidence that those organisations who invest in diversity have better results. 3. Discusses barriers that prevent effective diversity within New Zealand workplaces. 4. Provides helpful tips on how to increase diversity within your organisation. We live and work in a super-diverse country, our aim is to open some doors for you. When you choose to walk through, you won’t look back.
INTRODUCTION Having people in your organisation who are diverse is your greatest competitive advantage. But born diversity or having what we call inherent diversity will only achieve so much. Organisations also need acquired diversity, a genuine appreciation of difference, and an established culture in which all employees feel free to contribute ideas.
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Success and growth are dependent on an organisation’s ability to continually innovate. Contrary to the belief that innovation requires smarter people, the reality is that innovation requires thinking differently. Diversity therefore trumps ability and is the greatest force in innovation and your best possible competitive advantage. In a world where globalisation is increasing, organisations with greater levels of diversity are performing better. Not only do they have better financial results, they have the ability to think outside the box, better understand their clients and employees, understand unmet needs in underleveraged markets, make the most of market opportunities, have a broad strategic perspective, and attract and retain the top talent. Uptake of diversity is one of the easiest investments you will ever make. Diversity is an essential part of a healthy organisational culture. While many organisations have made efforts to increase diversity in their workplaces, many barriers still exist that prevent effective diversity within workplaces. Authentic leadership is key. Diversity starts at the top table and flows to all. Acceptance, tolerance and communication which embraces different perspectives is the answer to increase your competitive advantage and improve innovation. Steve Jobs said, “The source of wealth and capital in this new era is not material things … it is the human mind, the human spirit, the human imagination and our faith in the future.” When organisations invest in diversity and inspire their employees to have diversity of thought and perspective to generate value in an inclusive culture, only then does true innovation thrive. LG
www.localgovernmentmag.co.nz Go to our website for the full paper. Search: bit.ly/DiversityPowersInnovation
ELIZABETH HUGHES / LOCAL GOVERNMENT 101 E LIZAB ETH H UG H ES COM M U N ICATION. www.elizabethhughes.co.nz
LTP Consultation Documents Start with the end in mind.
I MOST CONSULTATION DOCUMENTS TEND TO BE SECOND ONLY TO ANNUAL REPORTS AS THE MOST OVERWRITTEN, DISENGAGING, TEDIOUS, OVERDESIGNED, CONFUSING AND SELFGRATIFYING MATERIAL COUNCILS PRODUCE.
n the latest LGNZ perceptions survey there are some revealing and sorry statistics about how the public see local government. Among them is the measure of how much they perceive local government listens to and / or makes it easy to engage with them. When elected members and staff were asked this, they rated this at 56 percent. When the public were asked, they said 27 percent. As to whether or not councils provide enough opportunities for people to have their say, 73 percent of elected members and staff agreed they did. Only 43 percent of the public did. This shows how disconnected ordinary citizens are from efforts made by councils to engage their communities. More importantly, it demonstrates the disconnect between people in local government and people in the communities they serve. Councils all around New Zealand are currently preparing their Long Term Plans (LTPs) – and perhaps the most significant triennial engagement they undertake. Hopefully, somewhere in the mix will be discussions about the LTP “Consultation Document” that will eventually fall out the end. The Consultation Document is the material that ultimately is meant to tell the story of where you’re headed, what your priorities are, possibly some choices to be made, and the financial narrative that will enable it all to happen. Surely potential blockbusters! However, most Consultation Documents tend to be second only to Annual Reports as the most overwritten, disengaging, tedious, overdesigned, confusing and self-gratifying material councils produce. Maybe the constraints prescribed by legislation, ultimately creating a document that seems to be written for auditors rather than humans, just make it too hard. This could be why the material produced ends up being just a long-winded way of saying: “Here’s what we’ve decided to do for the next 10 years and you can read the small print if you want. You can even write to us and try to convince us otherwise. But, just so you know, it’s pretty much sorted.” Going back to the perceptions survey statistics, it is likely that while you believe you are doing a great job of consulting, the audience it is intended for does not. Here are a few tips that might help:
Tip 1 Less is more Ironically, there is a lot that could be said about this. Where you have written 400 words about something you think is important and needs explaining, halve it and then halve it again. And again. In other words, don’t write for local government train-spotters or for your own need to justify. If people want more information, just make sure they know where to get it. Keep it simple.
Tip 2 Agree what success looks like before you begin Is your council’s success measured by simply delivering a Consultation Document that is ticked off by the auditors, on time, and with no mistakes? Or is success to be measured by the number and / or the quality of submissions? Does a low number of responses mean you got the pre-engagement phase about right (and therefore your LTP is spot-on)? Or does it mean no-one cares or understands? How will you know the Consultation Document tells the LTP story in a way that actually connects with your community?
Tip 3 Tell a story Stand back from the detail and agree the overall ‘story’ your LTP is trying to tell. This story should be less than 100 words (see Tip 1).
Tip 3 (a) Start now By writing the story now (noting that it may amend slightly in the coming months as your pre-engagement is completed), you will have the ‘joined-up-ness’ that enables your community (including elected members and staff) to make sense of what the council is planning / doing.
Tip 4 Elected members must feature It’s their LTP so they should be visibly leading it. The Consultation Document, or whatever medium you are using, should enable them to really communicate – projecting and receiving in equal measure. Pictures, video, quotes – even dissenting views – enable elected members ownership of the process.
Tip 5 Be relevant Even with a 100-word LTP story, there are myriad ways to tell it. LG
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
FRANA DIVICH / ON LEGAL ISSUES PARTN E R, H EAN EY & PARTN E R S. email@example.com
Being a good neighbour The other side of the fence: Councils as land owners.
C COUNCILS SHOULD ALWAYS BE MINDFUL OF THE RISKS THE ACTIVITIES ON THEIR LAND POSE TO THEIR NEIGHBOURS.
ouncils own large tracts of land. Intrinsic with land ownership is risk that something done on your land might cause harm to your neighbour. This article touches on situations where councils have come unstuck due to their ownership of land. If something escapes from council land that is an unreasonable interference with its neighbour’s right to use or enjoy their land, the council is exposed to a claim in nuisance. The classic case of nuisance is when something dangerous or offensive is emitted continuously or intermittently from the land such as fumes, smells, noise or vibrations. In these types of situations the neighbour will seek an injunction to stop the nuisance and an award of damages to compensate them for past interference. In French v Auckland City Corporation  1 NZLR 340 (SC), council was found liable for failing to take steps to control or eradicate variegated thistles on its land which spread to its neighbour’s land. The neighbour was awarded damages. An injunction was withheld by the court on the basis that the council, as a public body, would voluntarily cease the nuisance for which it had been found liable. In the case of Greenfield v Rodney District Council HC Auckland, CP2762/88, council was found liable for removing support to land when it cut banks to build a road, which in a heavy rainfall event, slipped onto its neighbour’s land. The neighbour was awarded damages for loss in value and for the cost of providing support for its land still at risk from slipping. Our final nuisance example concerns the escape of fire from a council-owned rubbish tip that destroyed a neighbour’s house. In Hill v Waimea County Council HC Nelson, A8/84, the court found the council both caused and continued a nuisance by allowing the build-up of rubbish and therefore increasing combustibility in the area.
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There was a foreseeable risk to its neighbour which the council could have stopped but it chose not to. It had to pay damages for the lost house and contents. In situations where a nuisance proceeds from the council’s land by the unauthorised act of a third party over whom the council has no control, the council is not strictly liable. However, if the council “adopts” or “continues” the nuisance it will be liable. The duty is known as the “Goldman duty” after a Privy Council decision in which it was created: Goldman v Hargrave  1 AC 645 (PC). This is viewed by legal academics as creating a special fault-based liability that overlaps the boundaries of nuisance and negligence, and looks at reasonableness between neighbours which may require the cost of remedial work to be shared. In the United Kingdom a council has been found liable for failing to take reasonable steps to prevent gypsies trespassing on its land causing damage to its neighbour’s land: Page Motors Ltd v Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (1981) 80 LGR 337 (CA). Recently in New Zealand a council has been found liable for continuing a nuisance by failing to remove pampas grass from its land: Double J Smallwoods v Gisborne District Council  NZAR 1167. The pampas caught fire and spread to a neighbouring timber yard. There had been frequent previous pampas fires in the area and the council had insisted upon Railways removing pampas, but had not done so itself. The court considered both the council and the timber yard to be liable and the loss was shared. Councils should always be mindful of the risks the activities on their land pose to their neighbours and take steps to eliminate or mitigate those risks. LG
PETER SILCOCK / FROM CIVIL CONTRACTORS NZ CH I E F EXECUTIVE, CIVI L CONTRACTOR S N EW Z EALAN D. firstname.lastname@example.org
On panels and prequals Improvements will help councils, contractors & communities.
O CONTRACTORS AND CLIENTS ARE REALISING THAT BOTH PARTIES GET BEST VALUE IF THEY MOVE PAST THE MASTER / SERVANT RELATIONSHIP AND WORK IN PARTNERSHIP.
ver the past few years Civil Contractors New Zealand has provided feedback on numerous local authority and CCO procurement strategies. We work with the members of our local branches to provide an overall contractor view on these documents. It has been great to see the growing understanding and engagement between local authorities and contractors and the recognition that councils, as long-term asset owners, benefit from having a healthy civil construction industry in their region. Put simply, a healthy civil construction industry is one where skilled and qualified clients, consultants and contractors produce outcomes that deliver value for money to all participants. The opportunity for contractors to provide feedback on procurement strategies and processes outside of a tender process is hugely valuable. My experience has been that contractors have some very practical and workable ideas and when they get together as a group, under the banner of CCNZ, individual company politics get swept away very quickly. There is a very welcome change occurring. Contractors and clients are realising that both parties get best value if they move past the master / servant relationship and work in partnership. Effective and efficient supply chains are sophisticated partnerships that work at all levels including quality, whole-of-life value, and health and safety. Two issues that come up again and again are contractor panels and prequalification systems.
Panels CCNZ supports panels provided they don’t limit the number of competent and appropriatelyqualified contractors that can bid for work. To reap the benefits of a panel it is critical that there are savings in compliance and administrative costs. This requires local authorities to make amendments to the documentation required from contractors when they bid for projects. It is critical to clearly identify these changes and ensure that they are made at the same time
as the contractor panel is established. Too often we hear contractors say, “I provide all this information to get on the panel or as part of a prequalification system yet still have to produce it again and again every time I tender.” Simply restricting the numbers on the panel to an arbitrary number has some serious downsides: • It locks people out of a direct relationship with councils, thereby reducing competition; • It can restrict access to innovation and the adoption of new technologies if they are not held by those on the panel; and • It means local authorities pay additional margins to engage companies with specific skills and expertise that need to come in as subcontractors. We currently have a very busy civil construction industry with record levels of infrastructure investment. The industry’s capability and capacity is being stretched. The question is, why in this market would you preclude competent contractors from working directly for you?
Prequal Using prequalification schemes sounds like a great idea until you look at the reality that contractors face every day. Each client they deal with wants a different prequalification system. A recent industry survey indicated that most contractors are already running multiple prequalification or contractor management systems. The record so far is 12. CCNZ is opposed to clients stipulating compulsory adoption of a single prequalification system because it drives up compliance costs and is a leading factor in health and safety schemes becoming a hugely expensive and wasteful boxticking exercise. What we would prefer is for the clients to spell out the outcomes they want and let contractors develop their own scheme or choose a commercially-provided scheme that meets the requirements. That way we will: • Get choice and innovation; • Avoid duplication and creating monopolies; and • Have a greater focus on what works to improve health and safety. LG
OCTOBER 2017 LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAGAZINE
DAVE CULL / FROM LGNZ PR ESI DE NT, LOCAL G OVE R N M E NT N EW Z EALAN D (LG NZ). email@example.com
Message to the government It’s time to turn attention to climate change.
A CLIMATE CHANGE IS A PROBLEM OF NATIONAL SCALE, IN NEED OF A JOINT, NATIONAL RESPONSE.
t the time of writing, New Zealand is in the midst of one of the more dynamic general elections in recent memory. It has been exciting to see a lively competition and in the interests of democracy hopefully we have seen a good turnout at the ballot boxes. Congratulations to whichever party or parties now form the New Zealand government – if indeed that has been settled. For local government we now have the task of coming to grips with the new Parliamentary make up. Many factors have contributed to what will be a new-look political landscape. But, whatever the outcome, Local Government New Zealand is well-placed to continue to work with our partners in central government on the issues and challenges of great importance to communities. As I wrote in my last column, we are better placed to face these challenges than ever before. LGNZ’s reputation is strong, as are our relationships with central government, opposition and support parties, and stakeholders such as iwi leaders, government agencies and sector groups. It is vital that we maintain and strengthen these relationships to enable us to collaborate with these groups, and we will continue to work on this. Prior to the election we released the 2017 Local Government Manifesto, outlining the key areas an incoming government needs to address. A range of policies announced during the campaign aligned with LGNZ’s positions – indeed they responded to several previous requests – and we look forward to seeing some of those come to fruition. We will now continue to advocate for the policy and regulatory changes outlined in the manifesto. These include a broad range of tools to fund infrastructure sufficient to meet current and future needs, the proposed Local Government Risk Agency and the ‘statutory tools’ councils need to meet agreed environmental targets.
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But one of our first priorities will be climate change, which we and a number of significant stakeholders in the community have identified as one of the most important issues facing our communities, environment and businesses. At the LGNZ conference in July, we launched the Local Government Leaders Declaration on Climate Change, which has now been signed by 44 mayors and chairs. Through this the sector committed to a range of actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. These include: promoting low carbon transport options; improving the resource efficiency and health of homes, businesses and infrastructure; and working with our communities to understand, prepare for and respond to the physical impacts of climate change. We are calling on the new government to up the ante on climate change and work with us to provide the central leadership needed to both mitigate the effects of climate change and prepare the country for its impacts. Much of the necessary on-the-ground climate change work will need to happen locally, and local government will use the full range of skills and capabilities it holds to better understand all the consequences and opportunities of climate change. But central government action is also critical. We are calling on the government to do its bit as well. Priorities include raising greater awareness among Kiwis of climate change and its potential impacts; reviewing existing policy to support climate change adaptation and mitigation actions; leading the discussion on roles and responsibilities for adaptation actions, including fiscal responsibility; and working with local government to develop a joint response to climate change including a clear pathway to a low carbon economy. Climate change is a problem of national scale, in need of a joint, national response. There is no more time for inaction. LG
Biodiversity protection needs a clear battle plan everyone can follow There is a new energy in the effort to boost and protect our precious biodiversity, but making sure everyone involved in this work is paddling the waka in the right direction is critical. A new report from New Zealand’s regional councils into the future of biodiversity management in the country has identified a need for national action in the battle for our flora and fauna. The report, Addressing New Zealand’s Biodiversity Challenge, shows that while there have been some commendable efforts over the decades, we urgently need to develop and refine new options and measures to ensure New Zealand has the best biodiversity protection system in the world to look after what is uniquely ours. LGNZ is calling for a national body to incorporate both public and private interests and oversee New Zealand’s work to protect and improve our biodiversity, and ensure efforts are coordinated and as effective as possible. The report makes five key recommendations for change: > The need for strong leadership and clarity of roles and responsibilities; > The need to agree where we should focus our efforts at national, regional and local level; > The importance of a national plan and delivering joined-up action across all players; > The need to understand what success looks like, and how to measure it; and > The need for modern, fit-for-purpose frameworks, including legislation, to help to achieve our goals. The good news is that we have favourable winds to assist our endeavours. The commitment to biodiversity protection has grown substantially in recent times, including through the Predator Free 2050 project, increasing philanthropic investment and significant community effort. But with biodiversity efforts from so many quarters, strong leadership is required to ensure the best use of resources and outcomes. Biodiversity, through habitat protection and pest management, is core business for
regional and unitary councils and we see a need for a more coordinated approach to this work. The current system is unclear, with multiple players and few mechanisms to allow parties to work together. Making sure all parties are working to a consistent and coherent plan is the goal - we must focus on the things that will make the greatest difference. As LGNZ’s Regional Sector chair Doug Leeder says: “Being smarter and more strategic in our efforts, with a clear battle plan for ‘NZ Inc.’ focusing on active management like pest control across all parties, will make the greatest difference to accelerating the protection of our biodiversity. Put simply, we need to make sure we are all paddling the waka in the right direction.” The report also outlines the role of regional and unitary councils in biodiversity, the challenges facing biodiversity in New Zealand, new technologies being utilised and the need for further new tools and approaches. Visit lgnz.co.nz/our-work/our-policy-priorities/3-environment/ biodiversity/ for more information and to read the report.
< We need to make sure we are all paddling the waka in the right direction. >
Building your effectiveness Your communities look to you to make big decisions on their behalf. New Zealand councils collectively own assets worth $130 billion, which is a significant share of the country’s essential infrastructure. The size of the investment represents a major challenge for elected members, as the way in which the portfolio is managed has a big influence on the ability of local authorities to provide for the wellbeing of their cities, districts and regions, not just for the current generation but for generations to come. This responsibility means that there’s a lot to learn as an elected member. While learning takes time, reflection, revision and practice, it must start with a commitment to know enough to represent your community effectively. There are some things that elected members must know to support their effective decision making. They need to know about the 1991 Resource Management Act and its recent changes, how to look after council assets and how much longer their pipes may last. They must be able to make political decisions which factor in financial management and funding, and make informed contributions to the long-term-plan. They must be participating in effective meetings, and asking for the right reports. To support their decision making they must be consulting and engaging with their communities and working in partnership with iwi. To boost this they should be proficient users of social media, and when appropriate, be able to respond constructively to the media. In your councils there will be a range of experience and knowledge. Tenure doesn’t necessarily lead to superior knowledge if things weren’t learned along the way. Individual learning solutions are therefore useful to build council knowledge exactly where it is needed.
Digital training options All of these elected member essential skills are included in EquiP’s eightpart GROW Webinar Series for local government, which is now available ondemand 24/7 on EquiPTV. This series is offered to all elected members and council staff to build on and discuss the knowledge and issues contained in the GROW handbook through expert presenters, real case studies and sharing of experiences. And if you have already mastered these, then check out some of the other topics on offer. Are you on a district licensing committee? Are you participating in the 2017 New Zealand China Mayoral Forum? If so, there are learning options available to support the outcomes you want to achieve. The entire suite of EquiP digital training options is available to watch in your own time, at your own pace, or you can invite others from your council to watch and learn consistent messages with you. Use this learning to examine, refresh, and put into action all the things you need to know and do in your role, while building your effectiveness. To gain access to any of the EquiP on-demand webinars please email firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, EquiPTV is where you learn what you need to know for success. Your place, your time, your way.
< While learning takes time, reflection, revision and practice, it must start with a commitment to know enough to represent your community effectively. >
EquiP’s Council Strategy Workshop Strategy plays a key role in setting your council’s direction, building your council’s culture, helping transmit that culture through the whole organisation, and defining priorities for community outcomes. EquiP’s Council Strategy Workshop can deliver powerful results in your improvement journey, with a special focus on the delivery of customer outcomes. The value of this workshop will help you, at the governance level, to focus and prioritise around the outputs you seek to develop, as well as aid you in setting tangible goals to help drive your culture to success throughout your term in office.
EquiP Principals We’ve gathered some of the most experienced principals in the local government sector – principals who possess deep knowledge of governance and senior management delivery – to help councils shape their strategic framework.
EquiP’s process of strategic planning The journey of strategic planning starts with setting values. In an interactive session, we facilitate the construction of the values that you’d like to see around the council table.
Following this, we will help you determine how your aspirations can translate into council gains. We will also support you in defining and strengthening your relationship with your council and your community. EquiP will then work with you to turn this vision into an empowering statement of belief that builds buy-in through your council and outwards to your community. Finally, EquiP’s best-of-breed experts will enable you to build towards creating an inclusive community vision so your constituents understand where your council is going, the journey that you’re on, and in turn, raise your value to the community through a succinct and articulate document that summarises your council’s term – something your community can believe in. For more information on this Council Strategy Workshop, please email EquiP Business Solutions Manager Dr. Steven Finlay at email@example.com.
< We’ve gathered some of the most experienced principals in the local government sector to help councils shape their strategic framework. >
The Final Word Assessing local government no simple task New Zealand’s councils provide a range of services to their communities, from critical infrastructure to the events which bring people together. Each community is different, demanding different services from their local council. Working out how a local council is performing is a complex task, demanding assessment of a range of factors and acknowledgment of the unique context of each local authority. Helping communities understand the role their council plays, how well they are doing it and where they could offer greater value is crucial for a well functioning democracy. Doing it is not easy, and making comparisons between councils is rarely an effective way of gaining a valuable or relevant insight, particularly on a geographical basis. Wellington City and Wairarapa may be on each other’s doorsteps, but the issues, opportunities and circumstances of the councils of each jurisdiction are quite different. Providing useful data and information to ratepayers is important, which is why LGNZ has established the local government excellence programme, CouncilMARK™, to show and grow local government value. CouncilMARK™ is a voluntary, independent assessment system designed to give communities the information they need to better understand the work of councils, and councils the data they need to continue improving. The key point is that it is independent and robust. It measures councils in indicators across leadership, finance, service delivery and community engagement. These areas were determined after carrying out independent research with individual and business ratepayers to find out what was important to them. Unsurprisingly it is a range of factors beyond simple financial metrics
that need to be taken into account when assessing local government. Councils are placemakers that make communities zing. Financial performance is important but so are many other things that make life worth living. The finalised CouncilMARK™ assessments and ratings of member councils are public, placed in context, and constructive – showing where and how an individual council might choose to enhance its value proposition to its community. So far, six assessments have been completed and the reports released, with a further 12 underway. Every council’s financial reporting represents the push and pull of a community that has worked out its interests. It has worked out whether it wants a council that is a mini, an SUV or a race-car. It has worked out how much it wants to invest in making its town or region a place they enjoy living in. There is a democratic process that goes into making those funding decisions every year and a comprehensive long-term planning process every three years. Ratepayers can also make their judgment on that spending at the ballot box each election. Visit councilmark.co.nz for more information on the programme and to read the first council reports.
< Councils are placemakers that make communities zing. Financial performance is important but so are many other things that make life worth living. >
HANNAH BURROWS Job: Consenting Administration Officer
“I love my job because it makes a difference to people’s lives”
How SOLGM supports the local government sector in attracting and retaining quality talent. Workforce Working Party – appointed experts who collectively identify councils’ workforce needs and offer solutions.
Job board for job seekers and job advertisers – LGJobs is the only local government specific job board in New Zealand.
Workforce Reports – the next major report will define councils’ current workforce profile and recommend future actions.
Recruitment resources for councils’ use – pull-up banners, flyers and a video for career expos and councils’ career sites.
Workforce statistics – detailed statistics collected through the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program’s benchmarking survey.
Student awards – such as the presentation of the SOLGM Prize for Best Paper in Introduction to Public Policy at the Annual Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Government Prizegiving Ceremony.
Website for those considering entering local government – lgcareers.co.nz contains information on why local government is a great career option, the range of job roles available and what SOLGM provides in the way of career enhancement.
To find out more about LGCareers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 04 978 1280.