PricewaterhouseCoopers Chief Executives Forum

Hear from a host of sector Chief Executives who, like you, are dealing with the unique demands of managing at the highest level in local government.

  • 12 Apr
  • Cordis, 83 Symonds Street, Auckland
  • 9.00 am - 5.00 pm
  • $600.00 excl. GST. for members
  • $700.00 excl. GST. for non-members
  • Save to my calendar

Hear from a host of sector Chief Executives who, like you, are dealing with the unique demands of managing at the highest level in local government.

The Programme

Thursday 12 April

9.00am Registration

9.30am PledgeMe'S impact
Barry Grehan, Chief Lending Officer at PledgeMe

Barry will share some of PledgeMe’s learnings – especially when it comes to working with regional areas and local government. He has built the lending side of the PledgeMe platform, which has helped entrepreneurs in Timaru, Christchurch and Auckland. His current focus is indigenous microlending.

PledgeMe has already helped many Kiwis achieve their dreams Hear from a host Hear from a host of sector Chief Executives who, like you, are dealing with the unique demands of managing at the highest level in local government.

  • 1236 projects
  • $20,905,381 raised
  • 92,073 pledgers

Note: attendees of the Executive Leaders Masterclass will be attending this session as well.

10.15am Morning Tea

10.45am Benchmarking in local government

Key highlights from the FY17 Performance Excellence Program - Sarah Gibson and Stuart Shinfield, PwC

Benchmarking and data analytics at City of Joondalup Council, WA - Jodie Dutton, Senior Business Analyst, City of Joondalup

Benefits of participating in the Performance Excellence Programme - Stephen Town, CEO, Auckland Council

12.15pm Lunch

1.00pm Thinking about climate change

Blair Dickie, Principal Strategic Advisor: Science and Strategy Directorate at Waikato Regional Council


(Source: Spotify)

Leading health and safety
Gavin Ion, Chief Executive at Waikato District Council

Safe With Me

(Source: Spotify)

Further digital developments
Chris Upton, Chief Executive at Upper Hutt City Council

Digital Lover

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Through the Looking Glass: How not to waste someone else’s crisis

Susan Edwards, Community Development Manager at Tasman District Council and Richard Mabon, Principal Advisor, Sector Improvement at SOLGM

Something in England

(Source: Spotify)

2.30 Leadership Practice
Mike Fiszer, Director – Professional Education at Massey University

Lookin' for a Leader

(Source: Spotify)
3.00pm Afternoon Tea

3.15pm Why the local government workforce matters

Dr Karleen Edwards, Chief Executive at Christchurch City Council

Note: attendees of the Executive Leaders Masterclass will be attending this session as well.

9 to 5

(Source: Spotify)

3.30pm Spirit of Service

Al Morrison, Deputy Commissioner System Performance at the State Services Commission

Al Morrison will talk about his experience leading the public service reform programme Spirt of Service.

“I strongly believe in the public service. And I believe that it is something we as a country should acknowledge, celebrate and reward.” – Peter Hughes, Head of State Services

Note: attendees of the Executive Leaders Masterclass will be attending this session as well.

Service with a Smile

(Source Spotify)

2018 Gala Dinner & The Marketplace

Following the Executive Leaders Masterclass, join us for a night of glamour, fun and celebration.

Register separately here for the Gala Dinner & The Marketplace by April 10.


  • Sarah Gibson

    Senior Manager, PwC

    Sarah is a Senior Manager in PwC’s Data Assurance team and is passionate about generating business insights for clients using data. Sarah has been instrumental in the development of the Local Government Performance Excellence program now in its 6th year with around 140 councils from Australia and New Zealand making use of the comparative insights to enable prioritisation of change and evidence-based decision making. As well as data analytics, Sarah is the leader and business owner of PwC’s secure online data collection and interactive data explorer platform, Datapoint.

  • Stuart Shinfield

    Partner, PwC

    Stuart is a partner at PwC and leads the Data Assurance practice in Sydney. He has a passion for using data analytics to invigorate and accelerate assurance activities and to bring new insight to business managers, governors and leaders. Stuart has led large data collection and calculation projects and has an acute understanding of the nature of financial and performance information and its drivers. His work focuses not just on rigorous calculation and analysis, but also on visual design to engage audiences, capture meaning, and enable insight.

  • Stephen Town

    Chief Executive, Auckland Council

    Stephen is currently Chief Executive of Auckland Council and took up his position in January 2014. He has previously been Regional Director for the NZ Transport Agency, in Auckland. While at the NZ Transport Agency, Stephen led the Australian market engagement for the country’s first PPP for Transmission Gully.

    Before returning to Auckland in 2010 Stephen spent 8 years as Chief Executive of Tauranga City Council. He has held a variety of Chief Executive roles in the education and local government sectors over the past 20 years

  • Blair Dickie

    Principal Strategic Adviser – Science and Strategy, Waikato Regional Council

    Blair has a science and public policy background and has worked in local government for over 30 years. Recently the focus of Blair’s work has shifted to addressing cross cutting issues such as biological diversity, energy and climate change policy. In this capacity he has been responsible for the review of the region’s geothermal management policy, the development of the Waikato Regional Energy Strategy, the development of the 2G-Regional Policy Statement. He has recently completed investigating a regional response to the issues surrounding the best use of the region’s water resources to mid-century entitled: “ Let’s Talk Water” which resulted in Waikato Regional Freshwater Strategy last year.

    Blair is responsible for the co-ordination of the Directorate’s central government advocacy. He is a member of the Society of Local Government Managers and in 2011 participated in a US State Department funded joint climate change four week professional exchange between SOLGM and the International City Managers Association. He is a member and past President of the New Zealand Resource Management Law Association.

  • Gavin Ion

    Chief Executive, Waikato District Council

    Chief Executive of Waikato District Council for 14 years, Gavin has extensive experience in the sector. He is a Chartered Accountant, a Chartered member of the Institute of Directors, Chair of Waikato Local Authority Shared Services (WLASS) and a steering group member of the Business Leaders Health & Safety Forum.

    His interest in health and safety comes from a belief that people matter and therefore keeping people safe is of paramount importance.

    Outside of work Gavin is an official on FINA’s (international Swimming Federation) list of international swimming officials and officiated at the 2016 World Short Course Championships in Canada.

  • Chris Upton

    Chief Executive, Upper Hutt City Council

    Chris has been CEO of Upper Hutt City Council since March 2011. Prior to this he held numerous directors roles within Council ranging from business development; strategic planning through to building control and regulatory services

    Chris truly enjoy the challenges and rewards Local Government brings and the fact that you actually get to make a difference within your local community.

    Prior to working for the Council Chris worked in a number of industries including: telecommunications, banking, procurement, facilities management and the energy sector both in New Zealand and the UK.

    Chris is married with 3 daughters and enjoys spending time with the family and keeping fit.

  • Susan Edwards

    Community Development Manager, Tasman District Council

    Susan Edwards is Tasman District Council’s Community Development Manager. She is responsible for Council’s libraries, customer services, strategic policy (including the Long Term Plan and Annual Plan), reserves and community facilities, and community relations.

    Susan has been at Tasman District Council for nine years. She moved to Tasman from Wellington, where she worked as Local Government New Zealand’s Environment and Regulation Manager for several years.

    Prior to that Susan worked in a variety of management and policy roles at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Wellington Regional Council, Department of Internal Affairs Local Government and Community Policy Unit, Taupo District Council and the Department of Lands and Survey in Nelson.

    Susan has a strong commitment to the local government sector and appreciation for the fantastic work that councils do for their communities.

  • Richard Mabon

    Principal Advisor, Sector Improvement SOLGM

    Richard joined SOLGM in December 2016. He loves his role assembling and sharing good and relevant practice so that people in local government have easier, more effective working lives, He is focussed on the SOLGM legal compliance modules, electoral readiness resources, and supporting G-REG the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative, He also has a hand in delivering some SOLGM events and policy projects.

    Richard is studying part-time towards a Masters in Public Policy. With wife Christine, he has one teenage and two adult children, and believes passionately that Liverpool FC will again be Champions of England in his lifetime.

  • Mike Fiszer

    Director – Professional Education at Massey University

    Mike leads the strategic development of Massey Business School’s Professional Leadership Practice and Executive Education Initiatives. He is Programme Leader for Massey’s Masters of Advanced Leadership Practice (MALP) – New Zealands’ foremost and only Leader development degree.

    He will be sharing the crucible process and practices that ensures the participant outcomes and benefits from the MALP. The main one of which is developing purpose and identity to lead self, lead others and lead the future.

    Previously Director of Executive Education at Plymouth University, Director of Leadership Development at Edinburgh Napier University and the Irish Management Institute, he has now developed level 9 Masters programmes in Leadership Practice in NZ and Europe.

    Qualified in psychology and business from the Universities of Edinburgh and Warwick respectively, he has had senior management positions in corporate and non-profits. He is a dynamic business psychologist and consultant who enjoys working with an international cadre of leading practitioner/academics. He contends that a well-researched strengths-based approach grounded in experiential and evidence centred methods from the arts and sciences ensures demonstrable leader development.

    His current research examines stewardship and how it can be developed in a Governance context.

    Passionate about meaningfulness at work and that we should all have well-lived lives in well led organisations, he has worked with public, private and not for profit organisations globally supporting professionals in leading well.

    You can read more about his experience here:

  • Dr Karleen Edwards

    Chief Executive, Christchurch City Council

    Dr Karleen Edwards has significant experience in the public sector in New Zealand and Australia at strategic, operational and leadership levels. She has been the Chief Executive of the Christchurch City Council since June 2014. Previously she was Chief Executive of the Commission for Hospital Improvement in the Victoria Department of Health in Australia. The Commission’s role is to improve clinical, quality and efficiency of Victorian Hospitals.

    Graduating from Dunedin Medical School with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery and specialising as a psychiatrist, she also holds an MBA (with distinction) from Canterbury University.

  • Al Morrison

    Deputy Commissioner System Performance at the State Services Commission

    Al Morrison commenced as Deputy Commissioner at the State Services Commission in September 2013. Previously, he was at the Department of Conservation starting in 2002 and was appointed as Chief Executive and Director General in November 2006. He led the department through a period of significant change to expand conservation achievement and engagement beyond the department's core work.

    Al is an alumnus of the Public Service Executive Leadership Programme, and former Leadership Development Centre Board member.