Governance Professionals and Committee Advisors Forum

An interactive Forum for those working in governance to share their knowledge, consider best practice and develop their professional capability with plenty of new content for delegates who have attended in the past.

  • 17 Jul - 18 Jul
  • Waipuna Hotel, Auckland
  • 9.00 am - 5.00 pm
  • $805.00 excl. GST. for members
  • $925.00 excl. GST. for non-members
  • Save to my calendar

This year’s Forum focuses on the role of the governance professional in emergencies - both in preparing elected members for an emergency and in the response. With a host of workshop options to choose from, you can tailor your Forum to suit your needs and interests.

Topics on the agenda this year include:

  • governance professionals in an emergency
  • decision-making, and the role governance professionals play in providing quality assurance
  • co-governance
  • common issues with LGOIMA
  • managing hearings and submission processes
  • reengaging citizens
  • democracy support and the LTP

Who should attend:

  • governance or democracy services managers and staff
  • executive secretaries and assistants with responsibility for committee support
  • council staff who work with local boards or community boards

This event is open to employees of local authorities and council controlled organisations. Others will be admitted by invitation only.


The Waipuna Hotel & Conference Centre are happy to offer a special rate subject to availability. Reservation contacts are below - just remember to mention the unique booking code SOCI0717 when booking:

Shabnam Khurana, Reservations Manager -

The Programme

Monday 17 July

9.30am Welcome and icebreaker

9.50am Navigating elected members through a natural disaster
Audrey Van der Monde, Manager Public Services, Hurunui District Council and Anusha Guler, Manager Governance, Wellington City Council
In the early hours of 14 November, 2016 the upper South Island and the Capital experienced what GNS Science has described as ‘the most complex seismic event ever studied’ and ‘a scenario we’d never have put in our seismic hazard models’. Two case studies will be presented by councils in the affected areas on the role that the governance team played in supporting elected members and their colleagues through the response and the recovery. To be followed by table top discussions.

11.05am Cellphone clearance break (morning tea)

11.25am An update on Infocouncil
Bill Shute, Managing Director, Infocouncil Pty Ltd
An update on software enhancements that have been introduced in the past 12 months and a discussion of Infocouncil's cloud strategy.

11.55am Decision-making: What are the areas of risk?
Kathryn McLean, Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson
Kathryn will present on the common areas of risk when councils are making decisions under the Local Government Act. Kathryn and Raymond Horan (Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM) will then deliver a faux report that contains some areas of good practice and some areas of risk for a table top discussion.

1.30pm Lunch

2.15pm Practice sharing sessions

These rapid, 15 minute sessions are designed to provide everyone with an idea or two to take home. Each session will get participants sharing 3-4 examples of what worked well. The sessions are:

  • elected member induction with Fleur Sweeney, Democracy Management Advisor, Western Bay of Plenty District Council
  • managing elected member remuneration and expenses with Richard Mabon, Senior Adviser Sector Improvement, SOLGM
  • youth advisory panels with Mike Reid, Principal Adviser, Local Government New Zealand
  • the paperless agenda with Jan Holdt, Committee Advisor, New Plymouth District Council
  • remote attendance at meetings with Yvonne Tatton, Interim Governance Manager, Bay of Plenty Regional Council
  • managing RMA hearings with Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM.

3.55pm Look at the lagoon break (afternoon tea)

4.15pm Workshops - choose to attend one of these three workshops.

LGOIMA Kathryn McLean, Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson
What are the common pitfalls that people encounter when managing a request under LGOIMA, and how can they be avoided?

OR Hearing and managing submissions Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM
Changes to the LGA have given local authorities and the community a lot more flexibility in how they go about getting feedback from the community. This session will start with a few reminders about what’s expected and then move into a discussion.

OR SOLGM BIM and the engine tuning submission Richard Mabon, Senior Adviser Sector Improvement, SOLGM
With the general election, SOLGM will be preparing a Briefing for the Incoming Minister (BIM) and a document setting out things that might go on the list for legislative change. This is your chance to get all those niggly “gee I wish we could change that” issues on the table.

5.15pm Summing up and networking drinks

7.00pm Conference dinner including guest speaker Jim Hopkins, Councillor, Waitaki District Council

Tuesday 18 July

9.00am Welcome

9.05am What’s coming up from SOLGM?
Richard Mabon, Senior Advisor Sector Improvement, SOLGM
The annual update on all of SOLGM’s good works, including an update on the progress of the Democracy and Governance Support Working Party (which now has the oversight of SOLGM’s work in the democracy and electoral preparedness space).

9.30am LG Hub - Securely manage and distribute business papers and much more to mobile devices David Chapman, Chief Operating Officer, Task Exchange

9.50am Workshops - choose to attend one of these three workshops.

The new standing orders Mike Reid, Principal Advisor, Local Government New Zealand
Local authorities have had roughly nine months to consider, implement (if desired) and work with the new standing orders (if implemented). This interactive session will focus on enhancements, talking about their implementation and tips, tricks and tweaks that folk have made.

OR Democracy support and the LTP Raymond Horan, Manager Sector Improvement, SOLGM
By the time this session is held, there’ll be some 347 days to go to 30 June 2018 and the deadline for adoption of the 2018 – 28 LTPs. This session will focus on the LTP process and how the democracy and governance support functions can add value to, and ‘grease the wheels’ for the LTP process.

OR Are citizens disengaging and what can we do about it? Richard Mabon, Senior Adviser Sector Improvement, NZ SOLGM
It’s often said that citizens are disengaging from democracy. This session is a ‘round table’ discussion focusing on whether citizens really are disengaging from local democracy, how we know whether that’s true (or not) and what we can do about it.

10.50am Morning tea

11.10am Co-Governance Mike Reid, Principal Advisor, Local Government New Zealand
In this introduction to the topic of co-governance, Mike will provide a working definition of co-governance, explain the difference between co-governance and co-management, discuss the different approaches to co-governance and what the different ways of working mean for governance professionals.

This will be followed by two examples:

The Auckland Maunga Authority with Dominic Wilson, Acting Manager Co-Governance, Auckland Council and

Joint management of natural resources in Waiapu with David Wilson, Acting Group Manager Planning and Development and Keriana Wilcox-Taylor, Senior Adviser, Planning and Development, Gisborne District Council.

12.40pm Summing up

12.45pm Close (lunch available)


  • Ms Jan Holdt

    Committee Advisor, New Plymouth District Council

    Jan has been in Local Government for over 15 years, 12 of which were at Gold Coast City Council in Australia. On return to NZ in 2013 she secured her current position of Committee Adviser at New Plymouth District Council enjoying the transition from a large Council of over 2,500 employees to the smaller, more personable size of NPDC.

    After being on a project to implement a new Local Government software solution in Australia due to an interest in process improvement, her knowledge was beneficial when NPDC introduced paperless agendas to their newly elected Councillors in 2016.

    As chairperson of a large local rugby club, spare time is a thing of the past! Thank goodness she enjoys partaking in a good wine.

  • Kathryn McLean

    Senior Associate, Simpson Grierson

    Kathryn is a Senior Associate in Simpson Grierson's local government and environment group in Wellington. She often helps councils respond to requests for official information or personal information, and to handle complaints made to the Ombudsmen and Privacy Commissioner. Kathryn also advises councils on a wide range of issues under the Local Government Act 2002, including decision-making and consultation, meeting requirements and Standing Orders, making and reviewing bylaws, and CCO governance. She is also experienced in advising elected members on conflicts of interest and helping councils carry out their regulatory functions under the Building Act 2004. Kathryn really enjoys working with her council clients, helping them to help their communities.

  • Yvonne Tatton

    Interim Governance Manager, Bay of Plenty Regional Council

    Yvonne has enjoyed 13 years participating in the ever changing world of local government with the past 11 years in the governance management arena. Yvonne’s experiences have provided a strong understanding of good governance processes. Engaging with and relating to all types of people who contribute to the jigsaw of life, ensures each day is celebrated as a unique opportunity. A little fine wine, great conversation and a walk on the beach all help to maintain her work/play balance.

  • Dominic Wilson

    Acting Manager Co-Governance, Auckland Council

    Dominic is the Acting Head of Co-governance at Auckland Council. This is a small, high-performing unit within Council that supports a series of independent co-governance entities. The Unit is committed to providing advice to support the co-governance entities in a way that incorporates a mana whenua world view and which reflects their bespoke statutory frameworks. The team sees itself as a guardian of the visions of these co-governance entities and assisting with Treaty-based partnerships.

    Dominic’s background is in law. After initially working at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington and also at the Wellington Regional Council, Dominic worked as a clerk to the Chief Judge of the Māori Land Court and Waitangi Tribunal Chairperson, Sir Taihakurei Durie between 1995 and 1999. From 1999 to 2016 he practised in law focusing on Treaty of Waitangi claims and settlements and Maori jurisprudence.

  • Anusha Guler

    Manager Democratic Services, Wellington City Council

    Anusha is an experienced professional in changing political environments with 20 years of experience in government. She is skilled in partnering with elected members to maximise their contribution to the growth of Wellington city. Anusha is passionate about democracy and connecting elected members with their communities.

    Anusha Guler began her career in government at KwaZulu Natal Provincial Parliament in South Africa. She was the Deputy Director of the National Council of Provinces.

    Anusha’s first job in local government in New Zealand was with Christchurch City Council in 2004 as Democracy Services Manager. In 2007 Anusha joined Auckland City Council as Team Manager Finance and Governance, where she played a key role in embedding a new structure for Democracy Services. She secured a role as Governance Support Manager when Auckland became a supercity in 2010. She is currently with Wellington City Council as Head of Governance.

  • David Wilson

    Acting Group Manager Planning and Development Gisborne District Council

    David Wilson (Ngati Porou) is currently Director of Lifelines and Acting Director of Transformation & Relationships at the Gisborne District Council. David is a lawyer by training but has worked largely in central government, private consultancy and now local government. He has a keen interest in the facilitation and implementation of governance arrangements that enable greater iwi, hapū, whanau and community collaboration.

  • Keriana Wilcox - Taylor

    Senior Adviser, Planning and Development, Gisborne District Council.

    Keriana Wilcox-Taylor (Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi, Ngati Hine) is a Senior Planner for the Gisborne District Council. She has worked in local Government for over 15 years in RMA and strategic planning and iwi liaison roles for Greater Wellington, Manukau City Council and North Shore City Council. Keriana was involved in the implementation of Aratahi at Greater Wellington and the formal relationship agreements between Manukau City Council and the 5 iwi of Manukau.

  • Bill Shute

    Managing Director, InfoCouncil

    Bill spent his time in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s earning degrees in Social Science and Commerce and living in the Austrian alps for the skiing and mountaineering.

    When reality set in, Bill started working for a forward thinking company at the forefront of computerisation. This led to a role in an investment bank managing a big IT project for automating the settlements function.

    On completing this project, Bill started the software house Infosphere, specialising in custom software development in Microsoft technology.

    The opportunity to develop a package for managing council agendas and minutes presented itself in the year 2000 and this is now the company’s sole focus, through its subsiduary Infocouncil.

  • Fleur Sweeney

    Democracy Management Advisor, Western Bay of Plenty District Council

    Fleur has 28 years as a governance professional and is passionateabout democracy tocreate a positiveface to local government in New Zealand. She believes that great local political leadership iscrucialto our communities’ futures,especiallyintoday’senvironment and this will happen with high quality professional support from governance professionals. It is her absolute privilege to support her colleagues and she serves on the Democracy and Governance Support Working Party of SOLGM focussed on providing best practice guides (amongst other projects) to assist governance professionals in our industry. She is also a keenfoodie,passionate parentandtraveller.

  • Mike Reid

    Principal Policy Advisor, LGNZ

    Mike is a Principal Policy Advisor at LGNZ where he has worked since 1996. While at LGNZ he has worked on a during which time he has worked on and led a diverse range of policy areas including local governance, legislative reform, elected member development, standing orders, social policy and local democracy. Mike completed his PhD in public policy in 2011 and is currently on the board of the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies. He speaks regularly on local government matters and has published widely on local government and local democracy.

  • David Chapman

    Chief Operating Officer, Task Exchange

    David is the Chief Operating Officer of Task Exchange, a company based in Sydney that markets LG Hub. David has been with Task Exchange since 2010.

    Prior to that he was the President, Asia Pacific for Burger King Corporation and the Regional Vice President, Pizza Hut International, also based in Sydney.

    Prior to that David held senior Management and Marketing roles with S C Johnson and Son based in Sydney and spent the best part of 10 years based in Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong.

    David has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of New South Wales.

  • Jim Hopkins


    First elected in 1989, Jim has since served as councillor for more than twenty two years on the Banks Peninsula and Waitaki District Councils (though not at the same time), an achievement which he modestly believes could be a world record for anyone attending the 2017 SOLGM Governance Professionals and Committee Advisors Forum. In addition to the time he’s spent reading agendas and hunting lost apostrophes, Jim has worked as a radio and television broadcaster, public speaker, columnist and author. He has 3 children, his favourite colour is infra red and his star sign is Alpha Centauri. Jim has MC’d SOLGM conferences in New Zealand and also local government conferences in Australia.

  • Raymond Horan

    Manager, Sector Improvement, SOLGM

    Raymond re-joined SOLGM in June 2014 taking on a new role, Sector Improvement Manager. He has spent most of the last 20 years in local government related roles, most recently with the Department of Internal Affairs.

    He describes his job as two-thirds, providing assistance to the local government sector and one-third providing advice to central government on local government matters. His ambition is to help develop a Local Government Act that doesn’t require changes every 18 months. He asks that you wish him well with this task.

  • Richard Mabon

    Principal Advisor, Sector Improvement SOLGM

    Richard joined SOLGM in December 2016 as Senior Advisor, Sector Improvement. His role in the sector improvement team includes contributing to the development of the sector good toolkit, with a focus on the legal compliance modules . He is delighted to have joined the SOLGM team and looks forward to continuing his thirty-year association with local government, having held a variety of roles in that time with Waitaki District and Rotorua District (as it was then known) Councils.

    Richard is planning to combine his relocation to Wellington with study towards a Masters in Public Policy. With wife Christine, he has one teenage and two adult children, and he lives in fervent hope that Liverpool FC will again be Champions of England in his lifetime.