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Kaipara review shows a need to lift governance performance

Kaipara review highlights a need to lift governance performance

Local Government New Zealand President, Lawrence Yule, has come out strongly with a call to improve local governance, following the Office of the Auditor-General’s report released today on the governance and management failures relating to the development of the wastewater plant at Mangawhai.

Mr Yule said although governance failures are not new in private, public or local government sectors, the report highlighted significant failures and successive poor performance with Kaipara District Council’s delivery of its wastewater project.

“The Council’s management exhibited a lack of basic financial and project management expertise and little acknowledgement of relevant risks.

“Kaipara’s councillors also inadequately monitored the project from a governance perspective and in particular did not ask the appropriate questions of management concerning the project that they should have asked. As the OAG has observed, the only positive outcome is that Mangawhai now has a wastewater system that works and has capacity to cater for future growth.

“However, the governance issues have occurred – and we now need to take heed of these lessons and move forward, learning from them. There are many strongly governed councils in New Zealand but overall governance must improve in the sector,” said Mr Yule.

Mr Yule said LGNZ is currently introducing initiatives to lift the bar.

“LGNZ is currently running intensive post-election training for elected members on their obligations as councillors. Additionally, in July 2013, LGNZ and the Institute of Directors jointly announced a partnership to assess and improve current governance practices in councils. This programme is due to be launched in the first quarter of 2014.

LGNZ is also soon to introduce a Centre of Excellence for advice and best practice on all aspects of council activities to provide additional support to its members. The Centre of Excellence, in particular, will have a strong future focus on financial effectiveness and value.

“We have initiatives in place and more planned. Governance will be a core focus in the coming triennium with newly-elected councils,” said Mr Yule.

ENDS

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