Date: 3 February 2016
The Local Government Commission begins its Regional Conversations initiative today with a visit to Marlborough. Commission Chair Sir Wira Gardiner, Commissioner Janie Annear, with chief executive Sandra Preston, will be in Blenheim to meet with Mayor Alistair Sowman and Mark Wheeler, chief executive of the Marlborough District Council.
“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to come to Blenheim and hear from local government leaders about the opportunities and challenges facing the region, and how they are approaching them,’’ Sir Wira said. “We know the council here has an innovative approach and I’m sure there are things we can learn from their experience.
“Equally, we’d like to know about any obstacles presented and offer assistance or ideas, if appropriate, in overcoming those.’’
The Regional Conversations programme is the Commission’s new approach to engaging with councils, focusing on collaboration and facilitation to come up with solutions to issues regions might face. Its South Island meetings will be led by Mrs Annear, a three-term former Mayor of Timaru.
“We appreciate that while many communities and their local government leaders face similar challenges, each region will have its particular needs, context and potential solutions,’’ Mrs Annear said. “As part of our role to promote good local government we hope to stimulate, enable and share conversations towards meeting common aspirations: efficient services and cost-effective modern infrastructure allied to good quality-local decision making.’’
She said that the Marlborough Roads and Marlborough Smart and Connected initiatives were of particular interest to the Commission.
“We’re looking forward to hearing about these and seeing if aspects of the local experience might be applicable elsewhere.’’
Further Regional Conversations meetings have been set down for Waikato (22 February) and Otago (25 February) with dates for others to be confirmed.
Simon Cunliffe | Local Government Commission | Department of Internal Affairs Te Tari Taiwhenua
DDI +64 4 474 8164| MOB 027 809 3833 | Simon.Cunliffe@dia.govt.nz