Barnes thinks coun­cil can lift its game

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - MIKE BAIN

Im­prov­ing the pub­lic per­cep­tion of what coun­cil does is a chal­lenge ac­cepted by the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil.

Mayor Jan Barnes says she was ex­cited to hear the coun­cil had been cho­sen as just one of 21 lo­cal coun­cils from through­out the coun­try to be chose as a foun­da­tion coun­cil for the re­cently an­nounced Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment New Zealand (LGNZ) stan­dards pro­gramme.

The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Ex­cel­lence Pro­gramme, de­signed to im­prove the pub­lic knowl­edge of the work coun­cils are do­ing in their com­mu­ni­ties and to sup­port in­di­vid­ual coun­cils to fur­ther im­prove the value they pro­vide to all New Zealan­ders.

Through the pro­gramme it en­cour­ages coun­cils to con­sider in­cen­tives for grow­ing a cul­ture of per­for­mance and in­cludes a strong fo­cus on fis­cal strength and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment.

LGNZ Pres­i­dent Lawrence Yule said the pro­gramme op­er­ates a cy­cle of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment and en­sures res­i­dents and busi­nesses are in­formed about lo­cal coun­cil per­for­mance.

‘‘It’s crit­i­cally im­por­tant, to let ratepay­ers know what their lo­cal coun­cils do well and what needs im­prov­ing,’’ said Mr Yule.

Barnes said the Mata­mataPi­ako wants to be part of the pro­gramme to raise the bar for ‘‘our coun­cil and raise the com­mu­ni­ties ex­pec­ta­tion of us’’.

‘‘Its a bold move as we are al­ready proud of where we are at with our ratepay­ers through our con­fi­dence sur­veys but its al­ways good to raise that level,’’ said Barnes.

‘‘We will be chal­leng­ing staff, our elected mem­bers, we are ask­ing how can we im­prove our sys­tems, pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices, how can we de­liver to the ratepayer our very best.

We want to give ratepay­ers con­fi­dence that we are con­tin­u­ing pro­vid­ing them with a ser­vice they ex­pect.

Through the pro­gramme par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­cils will be as­sessed ev­ery three years, given a stan­dard from A to C, and the re­sults pub­li­cised.

Coun­cils will then dis­cuss re­sults with com­mu­ni­ties and use the as­sess­ments to plan im­prove­ments. Re­sults will be pub­lished in 2017.

Grant Holmes with Health and Safety Fa­cil­i­ta­tor Kate Stevens (left) and mayor Jan Barnes.

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