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High Levels Of Service To Community Feature In Local Government EXCELLENCE Awards

The exceptional service that local councils provide across New Zealand is again demonstrated through the wide range and high standard of finalists in the 2021 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards.

This is the seventh year the awards, which are open to all of New Zealand’s 78 local authorities, have been presented. They recognise and celebrate excellence of work undertaken by local councils to promote and grow the well-being of communities.

LGNZ President Stuart Crosby said all finalists and the wider local authority sector can be very proud of their achievements.

“Local councils provide the essential infrastructure and wide range of other services which are essential to the well-being of all New Zealanders,” said Mr Crosby.

“Our finalists are great examples of how councils provide exemplary leadership, engage with communities and demonstrate innovative and strategic approaches to develop and deliver solutions and services that provide exceptional value to millions of New Zealanders every day.”

Local authorities were invited to submit award applications in four categories:

· EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Well-being;

· EXCELLENCE Award for Economic Well-being;

· EXCELLENCE Award for Social Well-being; and

· EXCELLENCE Award for Cultural Well-being.

Winners will be announced at the LGNZ conference dinner in Blenheim on 16 July.

One council, drawn from all finalists, will also be presented with the supreme Local EXCELLENCE Award, in recognition of the increased value, benefit or improvements to the overall well-being of the people within their town, city, district or region. This award, selected by conference dinner sponsor Fulton Hogan, reflects outstanding best practice governance and community engagement and environmental, economic, social and cultural well-being.

Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor Dame Kerry Prendergast, distinguished diplomat and public servant Sir Maarten Wevers, and Executive Director of the New Zealand Initiative, Dr Oliver Hartwich.

The 14 finalists in the LGNZ EXCELLENCE Awards 2021 are:

Air New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Environmental Well-being

· Auckland Council/Waiheke Resources Trust (WRT) – Love Our Wetlands Waiheke

LOWW takes a whole of landscape approach to restoring wetlands and has planted over 24,000 eco-sourced native trees with help from over 2,850 volunteers.

· Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury) – Whakaora Te Ahuriri project

A partnership between mana whenua, community and Environment Canterbury to develop a constructed wetland to improve water quality, mahinga kai and biodiversity values.

· Hamilton City Council – Hamilton’s New Rubbish and Recycling Service

The city’s largest service change in nearly 20 years. Upgrading the residential collection to four new bins has diverted over 3.5 million kilograms of scraps away from landfill for composting.

MartinJenkins EXCELLENCE Award for Economic Well-being

· Grey District Council – Mayors Taskforce for Jobs

The MTFJ enables the council to tackle issues of business and population decline, loss of youth and working age groups, by maintaining and growing its business population with financial support.

· Ōpōtiki District Council (in partnership with Whakatōhea) – The Ōpōtiki Harbour Transformation Project as Catalytic Capital for Further Investment into Economic Growth

The project has acted as the essential foundation investment for the development of a globally cutting-edge, iwi majority-owned, aquaculture industry in the productive waters of the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities EXCELLENCE Award for Social Well-being

· Christchurch City Council – Hoon Hay Park Youth Project – Community Hub & Basketball Hoops Competition

Supporting the vision of a group of Pasifika youth to make Hoon Hay Park a safe, well-used space that is appealing to all generations of the community.

· Gisborne District Council – Tairāwhiti Roading Package - Provincial Growth Fund

Using learnings from an ambitious new social procurement project, designed to deliver its PGF-funded road projects, the council was able to react swiftly to pandemic-related job losses and deploy 268 displaced workers across 67 local businesses.

· Hastings District Council – Hastings Place-based Housing Plan

Faced with a surging population and severe housing shortage, the council collaborated with government and NGOs to get homes built, with excellent results to date and more to come.

· Hastings District Council – Mahi for Youth Programme

A focus on the social well-being of youth not in employment, education or training – and through them the wider community – has so far placed 253 young people in employment.

· Palmerston North City Council – He Ara Kotai – the pathway that brings people together

A second pedestrian crossing on the Manawatū River, He Ara Kotai has been used by nearly one million people in its first two years. It provides a safe, off-road route for cyclists, improves historical and cultural understanding of the city, enables outdoor events and creates a destination asset with space to ride, play, run and explore nature.

· Selwyn District Council – World-class service – transforming the customer experience

Engaging the entire organisation in the creation of a world-class customer service experience, has streamlined customer access to services and information, reduced confusion and complexity for residents, and improved service levels.

Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Cultural Well-being

· Gisborne District Council – Puhi Kai Iti Cook Landing Site Redevelopment

Partnering with Ngati Oneone in an aspirational project to recognise and reflect the regional, national and international significance of the historic landing site of Māori navigators such as Maia, his waka Te Ikaroa a Rauru as well as Lieutenant James Cook and the Endeavour some 750 years later.

· Hastings District Council – Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre

The revitalisation and regeneration of Hawke’s Bay Opera House as a vibrant performing arts and events precinct, which honours its history and celebrates its future.

· New Plymouth District Council – Te Hono – New Plymouth Airport Terminal Project Redevelopment

A collaborative relationship throughout the terminal development process between the council, Puketapu hapū, the airport company and the designers, to weave design principles into the fabric of the terminal that tell the origin story of Puketapu.

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