SOLGM Meets the Minister

On 29 November SOLGM’s President Phil Wilson, Vice-President Pim Borren and Chief Executive Karen Thomas met with the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Local Government to advocate for the local government sector. LGNZ also met with the Minister on 30 November.

The Minister emphasised her wish to work collaboratively with the sector and its representative bodies and more widely than set piece opportunities such as meetings with LGNZ and SOLGM and meetings of the various Fora. There is a definite commitment to returning the concept of community wellbeing to the Local Government Act. The Minister talked of her desire to increase the level of engagement and participation in local government. Preparedness to meet the big challenges of the 21st century such as climate change was a recurrent theme throughout our conversation.

In the meeting, Managing for the Big Issues (SOLGM’s Briefing to the Minister and Associated Minister of Local Government) was also discussed. The Briefing called the Ministers’ attention to issues identified by the sector. Key messages are as follows.

- Central and local government are, or should be, partners in promoting the wellbeing of New Zealanders. The mindset within central government, and the legislation and policies it passes, must reflect this simple truth.
- A relationship with SOLGM and its members has a payoff in better quality policy advice and the implementation of the government’s legislative and regulatory changes.
- Climate change is a major challenge to the strength and resilience of future communities. Local government is at the forefront of adapting to climate change and needs central government support to do so.
- The key to better infrastructure management lies in the better use of asset information and in strategic decision-making. Reforms to pricing powers enable better demand management and promote better decision-making.
- Modernising the voting experience, including online voting, may better engage people in local democracy in the long run.
- There is more than one way to increase effectiveness and efficiency in local government – sharing of capability for mutual advantage has long been a strength of the local government sector.
- Costs and funding issues remain a concern, both inside and outside the growth councils.

The Minister asked if we had any desired legislative or policy changes. The second part of our Briefing to her, entitled Tuning up the Engine, is in its pre-publication phase and will be presented to her this week. We thank the members of the four SOLGM Working Parties for their review and sage advice. We’ll make Tuning up the Engine available once we’ve had the opportunity to discuss it with the Minister.

If you're working on your Council's long-term plan, the LTP Survival Kit is essential!

SOLGM has updated its suite of Sector Good Toolkit guides to assist local authorities in their 2018-28 long-term planning. The guidance reflects the lessons from previous rounds of long-term plans. All of our guides are interconnected to reflect the nature of long-term planning.

We also have a pair of webinars presenting the content and processes that go into an effective, compliant long-term plan. Email for more information on the LTP 101 webinars.

The Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum is the annual event designed to highlight current and emerging financial management issues relevant to local authorities including elements that impact on long-term planning.

207 days to go until LTPs are due!

Register for the SOLGM 45 South Branch 2018 Retreat

The biennial SOLGM retreat will be held at the Edgewater resort from Sunday 28 January until lunchtime on Tuesday 30 January. Join us in the beautiful central Otago town of Wanaka for an inspiring two days of networking, sharing ideas and hearing from our line-up of guest speakers.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors for their support of this event – Civic Financial Services, JLT, Simpson Grierson and Sheffield.

Download the programme here.

Click here to register.

If you have any questions, please contact Susan Jones, Human Resources/Administration Manager, Gore District Council, (03) 209 0344 or

Registrations close at 5.00 pm on Friday 19 January 2018.