SOLD OUT - Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum

It’s easy to get trapped in the daily grind of financial statements and systems. This year’s event focuses on four areas where finance professionals can add value over and above ‘keeping score’ – the impact of water reforms, value for money reviews (including section 17A), tapping the PGF and strategic funding.

  • 28 Mar - 29 Mar
  • James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington
  • 28 Mar 9.30am - 5.30pm, 29 Mar 8.45am - 3.00pm; Venue: James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, 147 The Terrace, Wellington
  • $890.00 excl. GST. for members
  • $1,010.00 excl. GST. for non-members
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This forum is now sold out.


It’s easy to get trapped in the daily grind of financial statements and systems. This year’s event focuses on four areas where finance professionals can add value over and above ‘keeping score’ – the impact of water reforms, value for money reviews (including section 17A), tapping the PGF and strategic funding. We’ll look at what the 2018 LTPs told us.

And there’s all the usual updates on accounting standards, tax, law, and finance issues as well as the latest from within the Wellington beltway.

With expert presenters providing content specifically tailored to the finance function in local government our 2019 Forum will:

  • highlight current and emerging financial management issues that are relevant to local authorities
  • provide opportunities to identify and discuss solutions
  • showcase best practice within the sector.

Who should attend:

  • Local government Chief Financial Officers
  • Finance managers and staff
  • Appointed auditors


If you wish to book accommodation at the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, please follow the instructions below

Booking Link:¤cy=NZD&hotel=77682&level=chain&locale=en-GB&themecode=GHI2&group=309824

Please note, the entire URL must be copied and pasted for it to work properly.

The Programme

Day One: 28 March 2019

9.30am Welcome to the Forum

9.35am The Practical Consequences of Three Waters Reform

Mark Robinson, Director, PwC

The ongoing review, and likely reform, of the three waters sector has a range of potential implications for councils, as the provider of those services. Changes to regulatory requirements may necessitate additional resources, additional activities and new relationships. Any subsequent change to the delivery structure of three waters could be even more significant, with the potential for new entities to commercially engage with, impacts on existing balance sheets and staff, including resources currently shared between three waters and other activities, valuations of existing assets, and possible changes to the local rating/revenue requirement. This session will discuss the ongoing review and possible reforms, including different options and timings, and then explore the potential implications for councils.

10.25am Getting the Best from a Section 17A Review

Raymond Horan, Chief Adviser, SOLGM

The 17A reviews are intended to encourage local authorities to seek efficiency gains, including through collaborative approaches. Raymond will provide some pointers to getting the best from a review, from the perspective of an agency that’s undertaken reviews for a variety of local authorities.

11.10am Cellphone Clearance Break (Morning Tea)

11.30am Shortening the Odds -Tips for a Successful Provincial Growth Fund Application

Portia McKenzie, Strategic Development Manager, Rotorua-Lakes Council

Fraser Liggett, Dunedin City Council

Niall Baker, Senior Policy Planner, Matamata-Piako District Council

The Provincial Growth Fund is here to stay. Like any contestable pool of funding, making an application can be a lot of work for a limited result.Here are three quite different case studies from councils of different sizes and types that have successfully made applications in the past year.

The principles and tips from these case studies are relevant for anyone applying for funding from contestable pools.

12.40pm Civic Financial Services:The State of Play

Ian Brown, Chief Executive, Civic Financial Services

An update from our naming rights sponsor.

1.15pm Lunch

2.00pm What’s New and Exciting in Local Government?

Raymond Horan, Chief Adviser, SOLGM

The latest on what’s going on within the Beltway, the latest that’s new and exciting from SOLGM and assorted other news that’s relevant for finance managers and staff.

2.30pm Marketplace of Information- Rotation One

Choose from:

A. Value for Money Reviews - Kevin Ramsay, General Manager, Corporate Finance and Property, Auckland Council

B. Legal Update - Jonathan Salter, Partner, Simpson Grierson

An update on the latest in decision-making, rating and other legal developments especially tailored for the needs of the finance manager and finance specialists.

C. SOLGM’s Review of the 2018 Revenue and Financing Policies – Raymond Horan, Chief Advisor, SOLGM

SOLGM’s Review of the 2015 Revenue and Financing policies concluded that around a third were at serious risk if legally challenged, and another third contained defects of a lesser nature.As part of the post-LTP washup SOLGM’s run the ruler over a sample of 24, Raymond will report on the findings and share his verdict.

3.20pm Marketplace of Information- Rotation Two

Choose another from the topics listed under rotation one.

4.20pm Renewals Investment in the Local Government Sector

Stuart Cross, Senior Consultant, Morrison Low

For a number of years the Office of the Auditor General has raised concerns about the level to which councils are reinvesting in their assets. At the same time, we consistently hear of the pending renewals waves facing many New Zealand councils. So what’s happening? Is the Office right, or are there other explanations?

This session explores the relationship between renewals and depreciation. It will draw on:

  • analysis of 2018 Long Term Plans using a range of reporting measures
  • real life case studies from Australasian asset benchmarking studies
  • statistical analysis of water assets, and what that tells us about useful lives being adopted by some councils.

We’ll explore questions such as “why use depreciation as a measure of renewals investment”, “is there evidence the sector is under investing in renewals”, and “how can the sector better monitor its level of investment in renewals”.

5.30pm LGFA Networking Drinks

7.00pm Dinner

Day Two: 29 March 2019

8.45am Welcome to Day Two

8.50am What Did We See in the 2018 LTP's – the Audit View?

Andrea Reeves, Assistant Auditor-General, Local Government, Office of the Auditor-General

9.40am A Combined Financial and Infrastructure Strategy

Martin Read, Wellington City Council

Wellington City was one of three local authorities that prepared a combined financial and infrastructure strategy.Martin will discuss the case for the combined strategy, what Wellington gained by it, and the issues and challenges Wellington faced along the way.

10.30am Morning Tea

10.50am The Death of Fair Value: Implications for Councils

David Edgerton, Director, Asset Valuer Pro

IPSAS is about to replace Fair Value with a new concept. This session will highlight the changes required to methodologies and how these can be used to deliver real value to council. Do you want your valuation to delivers real value through a range of asset management outcomes or simply be nothing more than a compliance cost?

11.20am Marketplace of Information - Rotation Three

Choose one from:

A. What’s Current in the World of Financial Reporting- Anthony Heffernan, Director Accounting Standards, External Reporting Board

B. SOLGM’s Review of the 2018 Financial and Infrastructure Strategies Raymond Horan, Chief Adviser, SOLGM

In preparation for the review of SOLGM’s LTP guidance, SOLGM’s reviewed a sample of 24 financial and infrastructure strategies.This session will present the findings of the review – its just possible that there might be some thoughts in preparation for the 2021 LTP round!

C. Taxation Update - Michelle Macdonald Director, PwC and Phil Fisher, Partner, PwC

An update on this year’s crop of taxing issues.

12.10pm Lunch

1.00pm Marketplace of Information - Rotation Four

Select another from the options listed under rotation three.

1.50pm The Economy in 2019

Ganesh Nana, Executive Director, BERL

Where’s the New Zealand economy heading in the short-medium term? What are the challenges and risks local authorities should be aware of?

2.50pm Summing Up and Announcement of 2020 Seminar Venue

Note: Claiming CPD Credits

Delegates at this Forum who are members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) may be able to claim credits towards meeting their Continuing Professional Development requirements. Delegates wishing to pursue this should provide CA ANZ with the Forum’s outline and confirmation, which we can supply, of their attendance.


  • Dr Ganesh Nana

    Chief Economist - BERL

    Ganesh is Chief Economist at BERL (Business and Economic Research Limited) - a privately owned, independent economic research consultancy. His current focus is on the Māori economy, and the inter-relationship of the Māori economy to the wider New Zealand economy.

    Ganesh has over 30 years of experience in the field of economics since first working as a researcher at Victoria University and joining BERL in 1983. His experience includes a variety of contract project work for BERL, research, tutoring and lecturing at Victoria University, as well as macroeconomic policy analysis and forecasting during a four-year stint in the UK using the IMF Multimod model.

    Despite his passion for numbers, Ganesh believes economics is about people; their jobs, incomes, opportunities and futures. He strongly believes robust economic analysis is critical to ensuring informed choices and policy decisions are made, that have positive effects on the life and prospects of New Zealanders.

  • Ian Brown

    Chief Executive, Civic Financial Services

    Ian was appointed Chief Executive of Civic on 20 March 2017. He has worked in the insurance and superannuation industry since 1987 and most recently from 2005 to March 2017 was Superannuation Manager for Civic before taking on the role of Chief Executive.

    Ian is well known to most of the Local Government fraternity. He was one of the architects that designed Civic’s SuperEasy employer and KiwiSaver scheme which most of us will know. Is there anybody out there that hasn’t seen Ian’s buckets?

    Despite being born in Scotland he passionately supports the All Blacks in every game they play and is a staunch Wellingtonian. The fact that he is married and has three girls just reinforces why one has to save for retirement.

  • Nicola Pinfold

    Group Manager Community and Planning, Dunedin City Council

    Nicola is the Group Manager of Community and Planning at Dunedin City Council (DCC). Her responsibilities include leadership of the policy, planning, community development and events teams. She is also leading the Dunedin Waterfront project for DCC.

    A born and bred Dunedinite, and a graduate of Otago University, Nicola has spent the bulk of her working life in the UK. She worked for Westminster City Council in various planning roles, including the Paddington Basin Redevelopment.

    In the mid 90’s she was seconded to a public private sector partnership focussed on regeneration of the South Bank of the Thames. The partnership secured government funding for the Golden Jubileeand Millennium bridges, which served as catalysts for comprehensive economic and social regeneration of the area.

    Nicola relocated to NZ in 2003, with her husband and two primary school aged sons and took up a policy role at Dunedin City Council. The potential of the Dunedin waterfront was then on her radar.

    Nicola is the secretary of the 45 South Branch of SOLGM. In her personal time Nicola enjoys travel and the outdoors, and is a keen silversmith.

  • Portia Mckenzie

    Strategic Development Manager, Rotorua Lakes Council

    By spending her first 10 professional years in the Middle East, Portia has gained extensive knowledge in a number of areas during her career resulting in Portia becoming a well-respected urban planner. The last 8 years she has spent at Rotorua Lakes Council where she has lead the inner city revitalisation, winning the programme an award at the 2017 LGNZ conference. For the last year she has led the application process to the Provincial Growth Fund for the Rotorua Lakefront which gained the single largest grant awarded to date of $19.9 million last September.

  • Andrea Reeves

    Assistant-Auditor General Local Government Office of the Auditor-General

    Andrea heads the Office's Local Government group, which manages the Office's relationships with the local government, environment, and energy sectors, and Parliament's Local Government and Environment Committee. This group advises the Auditor-General on key matters affecting these sectors. The group also maintains direct relationships with public entities in these sectors, and a range of stakeholders.

    The group carries out similar work for sectors associated with local government, such as council-controlled organisations, ports, airports, and licensing trusts.

    Andrea was previously a Sector Manager in the Local Government group. Before joining the Office, she was an Audit Manager for Audit New Zealand.

  • Mark Robinson

    Director, PwC

    Mark is an economist in our Consulting team. He specialises in the economics and regulation of utility and infrastructure businesses, and leads much of our Consulting work in the water sector.

    Mark has over 11 years’ professional experience.He joined PwC in 2011, having previously worked at NERA Economic Consulting in London, Covec Economic Consulting in Auckland, and The Treasury in Wellington.

    Mark has extensive experience analysing economic and financial issues in the water sector, advising clients in New Zealand, Asia, the Pacific, UK and Europe.He has also worked with New Zealand local government more broadly, assisting with a range of financial issues.

  • Phil Fisher

    Partner, PwC

    Phil is a Partner with PwC, who leads the Public Sector specialist tax advisory team.

    Phil now spends the majority of his time advising the local authority sector on a diverse range of issues, including compliance, policy and transactional matters.His particular areas of expertise include tax‑structuring for better community outcomes, optimising group tax efficiency, advising on tax-efficient remuneration packages, managing IRD audits, and the development and implementation of tailored tax risk management solutions.

  • Michelle Macdonald

    Director, PwC

    Michelle is a Director with PwC, who has responsibility for the Public Sector specialist tax advisory team.

    Michelle has more than 20 years’ experience in advising local authorities and public sector organisations on tax issues.

    Michelle is passionate about making a difference to local communities and is the lead advisor to numerous local authorities providing advice on a diverse range of issues, including indirect tax compliance, tax structuring of local authority groups, management of Inland Revenue audits and ensuring that local authorities have their tax risks covered.

  • Jonathan Salter

    Partner, Simpson Grierson

    Jonathan is the leader of Simpson Grierson’s Local Government and Environment team in Wellington. He has been an advocate of local government interests for more than 30 years, including in respect of funding and rating issues. In any one year he acts for around 60 councils, including as strategic legal adviser to several major councils. As part of this role, he advises on high-profile and contentious issues, including most or all of the headline rating cases over the last 25 years.

  • Anthony Heffernan

    Director Accounting Standards, External Reporting Board

    Anthony heads the team supporting the New Zealand Accounting Standards Board (NZASB) in its role of developing and issuing accounting standards.

    Anthony has over 15 years of professional accountancy experience, providing audit, internal audit and business advisory services across the for-profit, not-for-profit and public sector.

    Prior to joining the XRB, he held senior leadership positions at his predecessor firm providing assurance and technical advisory services, specialising in IPSAS™ and IFRS implementation and interpretation.

    Anthony has been the Technical Advisor to the New Zealand Board member on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) from March 2016.

  • David Edgerton

    Director, Asset Valuer Pro

    David Edgerton is:

    • Recognised as a global expert in public sector valuation under IFRS and IPSAS including projects for Vanuatu, Fiji and Cambodia.
    • Fellow of CPA Australia
    • A member of the AASB special project for ‘Fair Value in the public sector’,
    • Author of CPA Australia’s guides to the valuation and depreciation of public sector assets
    • Chair of the Australian committee of peak bodies with an interest in asset management of public sector assets.

    He also spent over 20 years with the Queensland Audit Office where he held responsibility for the audit of the local government sector, Chaired the Asset Valuation and Audit Advisory Group and wasnamed the Australian public sector accountant of the year.

  • Niall Baker

    Senior Policy Planner, Matamata-Piako District Council

    Niall is a Senior Policy Planner at Matamata-Piako District Council. He has over 10 years’ experience as an advisor in the corporate and community planning sphere of local government including Long Term Plans, Annual Plans/Reports, bylaws, policy, community engagement, and iwi relations. He has an Honours degree in Social Sciences, and Master’s degree in Environmental Planning.

    Last year, he co-ordinated the first successful Provincial Growth Fund applications in the Waikato region totalling $1.7million (including industry contributions) for an industrial hub and a tourism precinct. Niall believes good policy advice is critical to ensuring elected members can make informed decisions.

  • Fraser Liggett

    Enterprise Dunedin, Dunedin City Council

    Fraser joined Enterprise Dunedin in May 2016. He has responsibility for the implementation of the Dunedin 2013-23 Economic Development Strategy with the Grow Dunedin Partners. Fraser oversees a range of specific activities including, Film, Tech and Business start-up, Good Food Dunedin, International Education, Project China, Smart Cities and is supporting the a number of Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) activities including the development of the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE).

    Fraser sits on the Film Otago Southland Board and is former Board of the Otago, Southland Employers Association (OSEA). He has held management roles in London and previously led European Commission funded skills projects in France, Germany, Spain and Belgium. Fraser advised the London Development Agency (LDA) and Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) on economic development issues as part of the London 2012 Olympics. He prepared the ODA Employment and Skills Strategy, managed the development of the Construction College East London on the Olympic Park and authored a regeneration impact study on light rail investment in Central London. As a former Senior Analyst with the National Infrastructure Unit of the Treasury, Fraser worked on the State Sector Capital Asset Management (CAM) and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) programmes.

  • Martin Read

    Manager Financial Strategy & Treasury, Wellington City Council

    Martin is the Manager of Financial Strategy & Treasury at Wellington City Council and has been leading finance teams since 2009.. He has developed Wellington City Council’s Financial Strategy over this time, and has lead 3 LTPs and one LTP amendment. He has advised and lead a number of strategic and developments like the Wellington Region local government amalgamation application and the implementation of TechnologyOne ‘one council’ enterprise system. Martin was the Council witness for the successful defence of the recent WCC commercial rating case in the in the High Court. He has a background in commercial finance roles in NZ, the UK and Ireland and is the WCC representative member of the LGFA shareholders Council.

  • Raymond Horan

    Chief Advisor, 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.