The Business Performance Working Party (BPP) supports SOLGM’s vision by promoting high standards of financial management, performance measurement and management, asset management, and the use of these disciplines as drivers of business transformation.


  • develop and present sector responses on issues in response to developments in the policy and operational environment, or in anticipation of such developments. Development of such responses may be in conjunction with other bodies (for example, Local Government New Zealand, the New Zealand Planning Institute etc)
  • identify good practice in local authority planning and disseminate this to the local government sector
  • identify training and professional development needs relevant to planning, and develop or commission programmes to meet those needs
  • build relationships with those stakeholders with interests in, or the ability to influence, planning policy and practice in local authorities.

View/download the Business Performance Working Party Terms of Reference.pdf

Current Members:


Jim Palmer, Chief Executive - Waimakariri District Council

Deputy Chair:

Kevin Ramsey, Group Manager, Corporate Finance and Property - Auckland Council


Diane Brandish, Head of Financial Management - Christchurch City Council

Martin Fletcher, Chief Financial Officer - Marlborough District Council

Christine Jones, General Manager – Growth and Infrastructure - Tauranga City Council

Mike Nield, Director Corporate Services - Taranaki Regional Council

Bronda Smith, Chief Financial Officer - Central Hawkes Bay District Council

Ruth Stokes, Group Manager Infrastructure and Services - Dunedin City Council

Hamish Waugh, General Manager – Infrastructure - Manawatu District Council.

2016/17 Report from Business Performance Working Party Chair

Jim Palmer, Chief Executive, Waimakariri District Council

Our first year of operation has been an extremely busy one on all fronts. While our role is much wider than the financial, we are grateful for the sound base that David Ward and the members of the Financial Working Party left us.

We have played a substantial role in SOLGM’s response to the Better Local Services legislation, particularly during the Select Committee’s writing of the report. This proved to be a detailed, time-consuming and technical task. Note, the Bill was not enacted and will be carried into the next Parliament.

We’ve also played a key role in the sector’s readiness for the 2018 LTPs (alongside the Planning and Accountability Working Party). Our contribution in this area was the redevelopment of the guide More Dollars and Sense: Financial and Infrastructure Considerations and the LTP. The Guide was rewritten from a (largely) white piece of paper, to reflect the lessons from 2015 in setting financial strategies and (particularly) infrastructure strategies. There is a particular focus on the strategic end of both documents. The end result is a guide that is more user-friendly and focused than many of its predecessors and one that has seen SOLGM invited to present at forums elsewhere.

In May we released a revised version of SOLGM’s guidance The Price is Right. This is a revision and update of SOLGM’s guide on setting fees and charges. The Guide’s central message is that pricing is a powerful tool; when used effectively it can reinforce other objectives such as demand management. We are reminded just how spotty the legal framework for pricing is and will be taking a more in-depth look at SOLGM Working Parties this in the coming year.

We’ve also commissioned guidance to help the sector conduct an effective rating review. A rating review brings in complex legal, economic, political and social considerations and can easily go astray. We are grateful for the blend of legal, financial and engagement experience that the consortium led by Stephen Halliwell is bringing to the task. The report was in pre-production at year-end.

The Business Performance Working Party (BPP) has inherited responsibilities for two of SOLGM’s larger leading practice events: the Funding and Rating Forum and the Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum. The former was held in Wellington last October and featured sessions on financial strategy, prudence, remissions, water meters and the usual practice sessions. The latter was held in Auckland in March. Despite accommodation being scarce (thanks Adele), around 107 delegates attended.

I’m also pleased to note that attendance at our ‘third’ event – the JLT Risk Management Forum – has doubled in the last two years and is now at levels where the team is considering moving it around the country from year to year.

We are a Business Performance Working Party. In 2016/17 we have, of necessity, focused on the disciplines – that is to say financial management, risk management and to a lesser degree asset management. Our minds are turning to performance improvement.

I’d like to conclude my report by thanking Kevin Ramsay, Diane Brandish, Martin Fletcher, Christine Jones, Mike Nield, Bronda Smith, Ruth Stokes, Hamish Waugh and staff from the Office of the Auditor-General, Department of Internal Affairs and the staff at SOLGM National Office.