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Speech: Hasler - Local Bodies

Speech Notes
Hon Marie Hasler
Associate Minister for the Environment
Presentation of the Hutt City Council
Environment Group ISO 9002 Award
Hutt City Council
Wednesday, 16 June 10.00am

Good morning everyone....

Mayor John Terris, Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment Denise Church, Bureau Veritas Quality International representatives and other distinguished guests, Hutt City councillors, staff and especially members of the City Environment team.

I am delighted to be here to share this celebration with you and to have the honour of presenting the Hutt City Council, City Environment Group with the ISO 9002 Award.

The Hutt City Council's, City Environment Group is unique in the New Zealand local authority sector - it has changed the way it was structured and revamped its customer service image to offer a one-stop-shop for customers.

These changes are indicative of the fine work being done by the council and members of the environmental group.

The environment group delivers a number of services including, understandably, environmental policy and education programmes, consents, inspection, monitoring, and emergency management.

The 1997-98 annual survey of local authorities shows the Hutt City Council processed 856 resource consent applications for that financial year. This puts the council in the top quarter in terms of the number of applications handled by territorial local authorities.

Over 95 percent of both its notified and non-notified resource consent applications were processed within the timeframe specified in the Resource Management Act.

The average for other councils processing similar numbers of consents was about 75 percent.

This council has set itself a target of processing non-notified applications within five working days - this is highly commendable given the Act specifies 20 working days. And I understand this target is reached for 80 percent of applications.

The Hutt City Council is making good progress with monitoring and is part of a team of Wellington councils working together with the Ministry for the Environment on environmental monitoring strategies.

They also work together on resource management strategies, implementing the HASNO (Hazardous Substances and New Organism) legislation, as well as developing and reviewing various environmental standards and guidelines.

For the first time this year the annual survey of local authorities asked questions about good practice - this is another area where the council is also doing well.

The council provides pre-application information for resource consent applicants. There is a structured process for assessing the adequacy of environmental effects submitted with resource consents. Staff regularly carry out customer satisfaction surveys and then use these results to help review resource consent procedures.

These very high customer satisfaction ratings, plus feedback from other local authorities, indicates the Hutt City Council is now a role model for others as a one-stop shop for customer service.

I understand a number of other local authorities are also now seeking ISO certification and introducing changes similar to those made by this council.

The Building Industry Authority is also using the council's building inspection processes as a model for their best practice seminars throughout New Zealand.

Gaining ISO accreditation in any field is a significant achievement. Today's award recognises the hard work and forethought of council staff who have reached very high standards and set an example for us all by being at the cutting edge of customer services.

As a result Hutt City and its people can only be the winners.

I would now like to ask Mr Stephen McArthur, Group Manager City Environment, to accept the ISO 9002 award on behalf of the Hutt City Council.

Congratulations and well done everyone

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