Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has commended Central Hawke’s Bay District Council’s leadership and commitment to delivering for its community, earning it an AA rating in its latest CouncilMARK report.
The latest rating followed a BB rating result in 2018.
LGNZ President, Stuart Crosby says Central Hawke’s Bay residents can be pleased with their council’s impressive commitment to excellence.
“The Council’s strong dedication to lifting its performance is paying off. As stakeholders told the independent assessors, the Council punches above its weight. The effectiveness of its strategy, processes and leadership matches that of larger councils with considerably more resources.”
“Our assessment found councillors are visible and respected in the community, staff think smart and deliver at pace, and the Council communicates openly and honestly,” said Mr Crosby.
He said the assessment report shows the community-centric Council stands out in governance, leadership, and strategy, and in communicating and engaging with the public and business.
It also highlights the Council is well-led by a capable mayor and chief executive who have excellent understandings of issues facing the community.
Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor, Alex Walker said Council’s motto – Together We Thrive! E Ora Nga Tahi Ana! – was a unifying factor that underpinned all Council activity and helped create an environment of pace and commitment to service, even during rapid growth and change.
“The Central Hawke’s Bay District Council team are proof that local government can truly understand and serve their community in a way that other agencies can’t,” Mayor Walker said.
“I am incredibly proud of them and what they are achieving alongside our community.”
The report also commended the councillors, saying they work well as a team, with commitment to collective responsibility, and debate issues openly before supporting the group’s decisions once they are made. A strong sense of team is also apparent among staff, and there is an obvious appreciation of diversity and inclusiveness, the report stated.
Council Chief Executive, Monique Davidson says, “like many councils, we’re facing the challenges of needing to invest in much needed water, roading and other critical infrastructure”.
“Councils work in setting a focussed strategy, that connects to community has meant that in addition to the traditional role of local government, we have managed to build an organisation that is well aligned with the wider purpose of local government, bringing the wellbeings to life across our work.
“The results of CouncilMARK sends a clear message to the community that this is a Council they should have pride in, that is not just heading in the right direction, but leading the way in many aspects,” says Mrs Davidson.
The CouncilMARK report also found the Council to be performing well in financial decision-making and transparency, and in service delivery and asset management.
The local government assessment programme recommended areas for development include increasing collaboration with tangata whenua, regulatory compliance and further developing the quality and use of asset information.
The report highlights that stakeholders appreciate the Council’s positive mindset of quickly acknowledging and correcting mistakes.
Central Hawke’s Bay is a largely rural area stretching from Western Ruahine Range to the Pacific Coast and has a population of 14,142 centred around Waipawa, Waipukurau, and surrounding rural communities.