Our Executive Leaders Masterclass, on in Auckland on the 12th of April, is subtitled `Getting the job you want` so no surprises that the speakers and topics will be focusing on helping delegates orchestrate their future careers. As well, particularly as it's being run in the same venue and on the same day as our Chief Executives Forum, our annual Gala Dinner and The Marketplace (see more on these below), this Masterclass provides a unique opportunity to network with CEs and other Tier 2 and Tier 3 leaders from across the sector. Highlights of the programme include:

> Hearing from keynote speaker, Colin McDonald, Chief Executive of DIA as he outlines the development of whole of government work under the new State Services Commissioner and how local government might be affected.

> Getting the ‘low down’ from other Chief Executives in the sector on what it's really like to be a CE

> Defining your value proposition as a leader, and learning how to leverage your skills

> Learning what recruiters are looking for from Chief Executive role candidates

You can find the full programme and register for this event in our website here.

Last week SOLGM appeared before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee to discuss our submission on the Rates Rebate Amendment Bill. The Act is now 40 years old and is beginning to ‘creak’ and issues have been appearing around new tenure arrangements (especially for retirement living), changing legislation and technological developments. The scheme provides invaluable assistance for the low income, low asset base ratepayer but our view is that it's time it was given a tune up.

The Bill would extend coverage of the rates rebates scheme to residents of retirement villages. There is extremely strong cross party support both for the scheme and for this policy - Parliament appears to have voted unanimously to give the Bill a first reading.

SOLGM supports the intent of the Bill. Our submission made several recommendations to give better effect to the policy. We had a good hearing and there seemed to be general agreement with the points we made.

Our opening statement to the Select Committee and our submission can be found in the `Advocacy' page in our website here.

Adrian de Laborde, Engineering Services Group Manager at Hauraki District Council was one of the recipients of our Overseas Manager Exchanges in 2016. He's written about this trip to Queensland, made possible through JLT's sponsorship, for our LGCareers website and you can find his blog here.

Nominations for this fantastic Award closed in early February and we are very pleased to have received some very strong entries. The Award winner will be announced at our annual Gala Dinner on the 12 April and then that person will travel, with the assistance of our sponsors, Brookfields to the International City/County Managers Association ICMA conference later this year in Texas.

Tomorrow we have our free Building Consent Authority Accreditation Scheme Webinar starting at 10am. MBIE's Pete Laureson, Manager – Building System Control and Mike Reedy, Senior Advisor will outline changes to the Scheme and how to ensure your BCA is fully compliant. You can find out more and register here.

The Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum is being held in Auckland on 27 & 28 March. It's the must-attend event for CFOs, appointed auditors, finance managers and staff. The full programme, which is very future focused, and registration is available here. We have heard that accommodation in Auckland is a bit scarce in late March due to Adele being in town but we understand that there are rooms still available such as at the Jet Park Hotel out near the airport.

Our annual Gala Dinner is on at the fabulous Langham hotel in Auckland on 12 April where we'll be celebrating the exciting achievements of Local Government professionals. As well, earlier on the same day we'll be holding The Marketplace, an exhibition space for councils that have entered our 2017 Excellence Awards. If you want to check out the latest innovative projects happening in councils around New Zealand The Marketplace is open from midday and entry is free. Find out more and purchase your Gala Dinner ticket here. Our annual Chief Executives Forum and Executive Leaders Masterclass (see above) are also on at the Langham on the same day.

We're holding a one day Community Services & Facilities Event in Christchurch on 28 April. We expect to have the programme final and online shortly but you can already register in our website here.

Our annual Professional Administrators Forum will be in Auckland on 11 & 12 May. Unlike competing Forums for this audience it will have a strong local government focus (and is very well priced). You, or your administration staff, can check out the exciting list of speakers and topics and register here. There's also information on the accommodation discount we've negotiated with the venue hotel.

All our other events that are currently open for registration are listed in our Event Calendar.

Water New Zealand currently has four seminars on this important topic scheduled in the South Island. Choose from:

> Queenstown on 27 March

> Oamaru on 28 March

> Christchurch on 29 March

> Nelson on 10 April

You can find more information in the Water New Zealand website here. They tell me that they'll have some North Island dates and venues advertised shortly.