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Innovation The Winner At 2003 SOLGM Awards

For immediate release 8 September 2003
Innovation The Winner At 2003 Solgm Awards

Manukau City Council and Environment Waikato are overall joint winners of this year’s New Zealand Post Management Excellence Awards with their innovative approaches to two of today’s most topical local government issues.

The Awards, presented at the Society of Local Government Managers’ (SOLGM) annual conference in Palmerston North last night, recognise significant contributions by Councils to the process of achieving excellence in local government. There are four categories, with awards for Process Management, Management of People, Technology Application and Community Relations.

The calibre of entries this year was particularly high, so much so that judges couldn’t separate the winner of the Community Relationships Category Award, Manukau City Council, from the Process Management Category winners, Environment Waikato.

New Zealand Post Local Government Business Manager, Ian McDonald, said the desire for local government bodies to create innovative solutions to today’s issues is what the awards are all about.

“This is an exciting opportunity for New Zealand Post to recognise good practice and managerial excellence at the local government level. We feel that the real winners here are the communities involved, they are the true beneficiaries of the value added services and facilities provided by these innovative projects.”

Manukau City Council’s winning entry was their New Settlers’ Policy and Action Plan aimed at providing an environment with the necessary support services to help new settlers create a new life for themselves. The policy supports the Council’s vision to make Manukau the place where new settlers are welcomed, valued and supported so they can prosper, contribute, participate and celebrate their cultures and feel they belong.

Environment Waikato were highly competitive with their Clean Streams Waikato project. The project aims to encourage and support farmer efforts to reduce the impacts of farming on waterways. Environment Waikato have set themselves a target of protecting 4,000km of water body margins, involving 2,000 farmers, with fencing and appropriate planting to exclude stock.

Other recipients at last night’s ceremony were New Plymouth District Council (winners of two categories), Queenstown Lakes District Council and South Taranaki District Council.

New Zealand Post has been sponsoring these awards since 1997, and views them as part of a wider opportunity for enhanced collaboration with the local government sector. This year, there were 34 entries to the awards.

Encl: Details of other category winners

Management of People Category Award
This category recognises excellence in human resource management and was awarded for an initiative that invests in the young people of the district, while at the same time strengthening the capability of the Council.

Winner: New Plymouth District Council for ‘Our People Our Future’
New Plymouth District has a below average proportion of its population in the 18-24 age range and the level of educational achievement for these people is significantly lower than the national average. A three-pronged approach to these problems has been identified: The Council is taking on young long-term unemployed as ‘cadets’ and giving them one year’s on the job training; they are setting up an ongoing apprenticeship scheme in ‘trade’ aspects of the council’s operations; and offering scholarships to students from the district to help university-related costs.

Community Relationships Category Award
This category recognises relationship building, including consultation and feedback, between local authorities and their communities.

Winner: Manukau City Council for their ‘New Settlers Policy and Action Plan’

Commendation: Queenstown District Council for its ‘Tomorrow Queenstown – Quality or Chaos’
The Queenstown Lakes District is one of the fastest growing districts in New Zealand. In 2001 the newly elected council realised the need to consult with its widely diverse and unique small communities over the pressures of growth and tourism. The Council investigated finding a process that would allow full community input and therefore offer the Council a strategic mandate in the future. They successfully managed the consultation process over a period of two years, using a steering committee to dialogue with the community through local media, direct mailing, workshops and an interactive website.

Process Management Category Award
This category recognises innovative approaches to process management to provide effect and efficient services to the public.

Winner: Environment Waikato for ‘Clean Streams Waikato’

Commendation: South Taranaki District Council for its Express Resource Consent and Money Back Guarantee scheme
As part of their vision to ‘provide a positive service which values the customer, and best serves the community and the environment’, the South Taranaki District Council searched for ways to make the resource consents process easier for locals, launching two complementary initiatives.

Under their new Express Resource Consents service, consents for a range of minor activities must be processed within 48 hours. The Money Back Guarantee states that if the Council fails to issue a consent within the identified timeframe, the customer will receive a refund of the deposit fee of $150. Any applications received under the Express Resource Consents service will be refunded in full if not issued within the 48 hour period.

Technology Application Category Award
This category recognises innovation in the use of applied technology to improve local government performance and service.

Winner: New Plymouth District Council for ‘Puke Ariki with the Taranaki Information Network Project’
The Taranaki Information Network (the TIN Project) links the Taranaki and global communities to the information and cultural resources of Puke Ariki, the area’s new regional knowledge centre with library, museum and visitor information centre, through a series of local information technology channels. The information is not only accessible to the global market via a internet site, but also provided to schools, libraries and visitor information centres with free, broadband access to Taranaki-specific online content.

TIN includes an ever-growing collection of the stories of Taranaki, indepth information on the Puke Ariki collections, educational resources for teachers and students, a facility for people to add their own stories and images and links to related internet resources.


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