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High-Powered Conference This Month

More than 550 delegates will gather in Christchurch next week to consider their conference theme "Future Focus, Fighting Fit."

They will be attending the annual conference of Local Government New Zealand at the Christchurch Convention Centre and will be able to hear a handful of Cabinet ministers speaking along with a sprinkling of MPs.

LGNZ president Louise Rosson says the conference will focus on the fitness of local government to achieve the many challenges it faces.

She says local government has the chance to realise a clear vision for its future.

She says the conference will give more time to discuss ideas and thinking on the "big issues" and she hopes that the results will be used to further discussions in "The Forum", a joint local and central government working group.

Delegates will gather on Sunday 9 July but the conference will start the next day with a welcome by the Christchurch Mayor Garry Moore.

The first speaker will be political commentator Colin James and one of the keynote speakers, the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Jim Soorley, will also speak that morning.

Other speakers on the opening day will include the chief executive of Telecom, Theresa Gattung, the chief executive of the Jade Group, Sir Gil Simpson, and the Minister of Local Government, Sandra Lee.

The next day, Tuesday 11 July, the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, will speak.

Special seminars will be held on the second day of the three-day conference.

These will feature Cabinet ministers such as the Deputy Prime Minister, Jim Anderton, the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, the Minister of Social Services, Steve Maharey, the Minister of Transport, Mark Gosche, and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Auckland issues, Judith Tizard.

Other politicians involved will be Jeannette Fitzsimons, Richard Worth, Martin Gallagher, Dr Muriel Newman, Rod Donald, Murray McCully, and Tim Barnett, But it will not be all work and no play.

The Christchurch City Council has arranged special tours for delegates outside conference hours.

A selection of technical tours, such as one focusing on the re-use of waste products and another about the revitalisation of the city centre, has proved popular and more have been arranged since the original programme was drawn up.

Further information: Julie Battersby, City Promotions Co-ordinator: 371 1780.

Sam Fisher Corporate Communication Co-ordinator Christchurch City Council 03 371-1762 025 229 3552

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