Coun­cils up for two na­tional awards

The Northland Age - - Local News -

In­no­va­tive projects de­signed to pro­tect the marine en­vi­ron­ment and to pro­mote re­spon­si­ble dog own­er­ship have won two North­land coun­cils fi­nal­ist places in the Lo­cal Govern­ment New Zealand (LGNZ) Ex­cel­lence Awards.

The North­land Re­gional Coun­cil’s marine biose­cu­rity pro­gramme is a fi­nal­ist in the award for en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, while the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil is a fi­nal­ist in the com­mu­nity en­gage­ment cat­e­gory with its Nga¯ Kur¯ı Auau o Kaikohe project.

The NRC was the first coun­cil in the coun­try to bring marine pests into its pest man­age­ment plan and pro­pose a re­gion­wide Marine Path­way plan, aimed at ed­u­cat­ing the com­mu­nity on the threats posed by of marine pests, pur­su­ing new tech­nolo­gies and ac­tively check­ing the hulls of more than 2000 ves­sels ev­ery year.

The award judges praised the ini­tia­tive for tak­ing a lead in ad­dress­ing a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem and at­tempt­ing to deal with a very sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenge.

The FNDC’s Nga¯ Kur¯ı Auau o Kaikohe was a tar­geted, com­mu­nity-based so­cial mar­ket­ing project aimed at en­cour­ag­ing dog com­pli­ance and pro­mot­ing re­spon­si­ble dog own­er­ship, in re­sponse to a high num­ber of dog at­tacks.

It in­cluded a suc­cess­ful so­cial me­dia cam­paign, with an­i­mal man­age­ment of­fi­cers en­gag­ing with dog own­ers in known prob­lem ar­eas to pro­mote ‘Dog Day’ events in Kaikohe and Kaita¯ia, which were also at­tended by vets, po­lice dogs and DoC con­ser­va­tion dogs. Mes­sag­ing fo­cused on car­ing over com­pli­ance and built on the loy­alty be­tween dog and owner.

As part of the cam­paign, the coun­cil of­fered free neu­ter­ing, microchipping and reg­is­tra­tion for dogs engaged with the pro­gramme.

Out­comes in­cluded a 42 per cent drop in the num­ber of re­ported dog at­tacks on peo­ple and an­i­mals in the quar­ter fol­low­ing the Kaikohe event, and a marked in­crease in ‘peer to peer’ lead­er­ship demon­strated on so­cial chan­nels. Ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties and tar­geted pro­grammes have now been built into the an­i­mal man­age­ment team’s work plan.

LGNZ pres­i­dent Dave Cull said be­ing named a fi­nal­ist was a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment, re­flect­ing strong lead­er­ship and the in­no­va­tive work be­ing de­liv­ered by coun­cils across the coun­try.

“The fi­nal­ists in­clude some ex­cep­tional projects that are hav­ing a pro­found im­pact on com­mu­ni­ties. The fi­nal­ists all demon­strate in­no­va­tion, ex­cel­lence in com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­sul­ta­tion to in­volve com­mu­ni­ties in the de­ci­sions and plan­ning that frame their fu­ture,” he said.

“Over­all the judges felt that the strong­est en­tries demon­strated a strong strate­gic fo­cus, clear out­comes, mea­sured re­sults, cost-ben­e­fit anal­y­sis and en­gage­ment with ex­ter­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions, par­tic­u­larly a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach with stake­hold­ers, and mean­ing­ful en­gage­ment with iwi and Ma¯ori.”

The awards will be pre­sented in Christchurch on July 16.

PIC­TURE / DEB­BIE BEA­DLE

A slightly ap­pre­hen­sive Sue and her owner June Bur­ton were part of the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil’s Nga¯ Kurı¯ Auau o Kaikohe day in Kaikohe last year.

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