Council recognised for local government excellence

Council recognised for local government excellence

Friday, April 12, 2019

South Taranaki District Council’s innovative approach to freedom camping has been awarded the Tompkins Wake Award for Better Regulation and Policy at a Gala Dinner in Auckland.

At the Dinner, held by the Society of Local Government Managers (SOLGM), six exceptional and innovative project winners were announced, including a Supreme Award winner, as part of the 2019 McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®.

Tourism, and the associated freedom camping, has increased across Taranaki. The project involved the development of a bylaw and a scoring system for conducting significant site assessments and worked with Kaitiaki (Ambassadors) to monitor application throughout the district.

SOLGM’s Chief Advisor, Raymond Horan, said that South Taranaki’s project demonstrated the value of developing robust, evidence-based policy and the application of good decision-making.

“Freedom camping is an issue that is very topical, but it can also be a matter of great sensitivity. The judges see the mobilisation of Kaitiaki as a means of providing for compliance through encouragement rather than prosecution.”

STDC Chief Executive, Waid Crockett says the Council took a very practical, South Taranaki approach to the issue of Freedom Camping.

“We wanted to be welcoming to visitors to our district while ensuring they respect our home while they are here. Using our Freedom Camping Ambassadors/Kaitiaki we’ve been able to encourage campers to do the right thing without having to use a heavy handed approach,” says Mr Crockett.

“We’re thrilled to have been awarded this prize. Policy and Regulation can sometimes be an inhibitor; however the determination of our Councillors and staff to make this work has seen a great outcome for our community.”

SOLGM’s Chief Executive, Karen Thomas said that the Gala Dinner is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the amazing work of public servants in the local government sector.

“This is our 5th Gala Dinner and it’s a very special event for the local government sector.

“We recognise the outstanding contribution and commitment to communities, and also celebrate the inspiring projects and people that contribute to our sector.

“Our thanks to the Tompkins Wake for their support.”

Also announced on the evening were the six category winners of the McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards®, a including a Supreme Winner, the Brookfields Emerging Leader of the Year Award, several Overseas Manager Exchanges, and a leadership scholarship.