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Two Otago councils and two Southland councils have been recognised in this year's Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Excellence Awards.
The Dunedin City Council has been nominated for best creative place for its arts and culture strategy Ara Toi Otepoti-Our Creative Future, and the Central Otago District Council has been nominated for community engagement for its young driver programme, Skills Not Thrills.
LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said being nominated as a finalist was an impressive achievement.
Judges praised the Dunedin City Council's strategy, and highlighted the "outstanding commitment from the council which is resulting in strong support from the private sector and international recognition''.
The strategy had already led to major initiatives such as the warehouse precinct revitalisation and Dunedin's status as a Unesco City of Literature, LGNZ said.
Judges also praised the Central Otago District Council's initiative as a "good, practical response to a local problem, led by the council and involving local stakeholders''.
Environment Southland's Water and Land Plan is a finalist in the community engagement category, while Southland District Council's Changing Direction, The Way Forward for Southland's Roads programme is a finalist in the best practice in infrastructure category.
Awards winners will be announced during the LGNZ conference in Dunedin next month.