The SOLGM Executive Board has recognised two outstanding SOLGM members for distinguished management in the local government sector and their significant contribution to SOLGM. 

The SOLGM 2020 Distinguished Management Award went to Basil Chamberlain, Chief Executive of Taranaki Regional Council, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to SOLGM to David Ward, Chief Executive of Selwyn Council. 

The Distinguished Management Award is for a SOLGM Member who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of local government management in New Zealand. 

Basil is the longest serving Chief Executive in New Zealand, and is highly regarded by his peers, particularly in the Regional sector, for his technical and managerial expertise, and also for his counsel and mentoring. He has served in a range of capacities at the national level, mainly in the fields of resource management and biosecurity.  

Basil’s career started at the Taranaki Catchment Commission and Regional Water Board at a time of major gas and oil discoveries and associated energy developments. He became General Manager of the Taranaki Catchment Board aged 29, and in 1989 was appointed Chief Executive at Taranaki. 

Taranaki is known for its quality natural resources and strong primary production. The Council is involved in promoting sustainable activities and regional infrastructure planning and provision. The Council has a reputation for efficiency, innovation and quality provision of services. 

Basil has served in a range of capacities at a national level, mainly in the fields of resource management and biosecurity.  

In the mid 90’s Basil chaired the Strategic Consultative Group on Sustainable Land Management Research which provided extensive advice to the Minister for Science, Research and Technology. In 2004 he chaired Local Government NZ’s Resource Management Act Improvement Project Group and at the same time he was a member of the Ministerial Reference Group advising Government on the review of the RMA. For close to two decades, he was a member of the New Zealand Biosecurity Council and its successor the Government’s Biosecurity Ministerial Advisory Committee. He also previously chaired the Government’s Pest Management Strategy Advisory Committee.  

In 2006 Basil was appointed to Chair the Ministerial Advisory Group advising the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Agriculture and Forestry on the Government’s Sustainable Water Programme of Action. More recently, he led a cross sector steering group to investigate and promote improvements in New Zealand’s approach to the management of natural hazards. He subsequently served on the Local Government Risk Management Agency Establishment Board.  

Basil has also served as Convenor of the Regional Council Chief Executives’ Group. He is known as a strong advocate of public participation in community governance and the need to empower and work with people to achieve vibrant and prosperous communities.  

In 2013, Basil was honoured to receive the Outstanding Person Award from the Resource Management Law Association. 

Basil recently announced his retirement from Taranaki after more than 40 years of service, including 31 years as Chief Executive. His intelligent, strong and pragmatic leadership is heralded by his peers. 

The President’s Award for Distinguished Contribution to SOLGM has been awarded to David Ward, Chief Executive of Selwyn Council and former Chief Executive of Horowhenua District Council.  

This Award is for a SOLGM member who has made a significant contribution to SOLGM. 

David is a long-term and significant supporter of SOLGM. He has been a member since 2003 and has been heavily involved in two SOLGM Working Parties spanning more than 15 years. 

David joined the Finance Working Party in 2004 and became Chair in 2009, a position he retained until 2017. During this time the Finance Working Party oversaw the development of significant guidance to the sector on the move from IFRIS to PCPB accounting. In 2018 he was appointed Chair of the Democracy and Governance Support Working Party.   

David is also a strong supporter and mentor to the young leaders that report to him. He has supported them to attend the Executive Leaders Programme and several have gone on become chief executives. At Selwyn David established a Young Leaders Group, which is co-chaired by two (different) young leaders each year. Under his direction they establish a speaker programme for their monthly meetings which includes both internal and external speakers. They have a framework of learning from others and learning from themselves.  

SOLGM’s annual Gala Dinner event was cancelled due to COVID-19, and so award recipients were announced online this year.