Local Government New Zealand signals new programme to demonstrate and support council performance excellence

10 Dec 2015

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has today signalled a new Local Government Excellence Programme, designed to improve the public’s knowledge of the work councils are doing in their communities and to support individual councils to further improve the value they provide to all New Zealanders.

LGNZ President Lawrence Yule outlined plans for the wide-ranging initiative which will be launched in the New Year, at today’s LGNZ quarterly media briefing.

The Programme is underpinned by significant research commissioned by LGNZ, including The New Zealand Local Government Survey of 3,000 citizens and businesses released earlier this year.  This provided vital country-wide insights into New Zealanders’ perceptions of local government.

“For the first time in New Zealand, we have a clear national picture of how public and business communities view local government performance and reputation.   It’s critically important feedback on what people think we do, what we do well and what needs improving,” said Mr Yule.

“The Programme will operate a cycle of continuous improvement and ensure residents and businesses are informed about local council performance.  Councils are doing great work across the country, but if the public don’t know about it, then we need to improve that,” said Mr Yule.

The Programme will encourage councils to consider incentives for growing a culture of performance and includes a strong focus on fiscal strength and financial management.

“It will see the sector working together to build strong local and national leadership – and it will ensure we continue to provide effective, efficient responses to the issues that matter most to our communities,” said Mr Yule.

“The Programme will enable local government to continue its focus on maintaining and improving delivery of infrastructure and ‘fit for purpose’ services,” said Mr Yule.

The framework for the Programme has been developed and pilot testing is underway with four councils.  LGNZ will also be testing the programme with the public in the New Year with focus groups led by Colmar Brunton, followed by roadshows with councils to test the measures.

The four proposed priorities of the Programme are:

  • Excellence in governance, leadership and strategy;
  • Excellence and transparency in financial decision-making
  • High standards of asset management and infrastructure; and
  • Stronger engagement with the public and businesses.

Mr Yule spoke on further developments in LGNZ policies at the quarterly media briefing, including environmental policy and management of natural capital, strengthening local democracy, local government regulatory reform, and developing a sustainable funding model for Local Government.  A full version of the speech is below.