Review gives council high mark

The Waitaki District Council has received a glowing mark in an independent review, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.

The council received a BBB rating in its first CouncilMARK review, and the report praised the council for its long-term thinking and saving for future infrastructure renewals.

It also highlighted the council’s community engagement and public communication.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said it was pleasing to receive the fourth-highest mark available, but the council undertook the review to recognise its shortcomings.

"It’s very pleasing. It certainly says we are doing some things pretty well. For me, let’s celebrate getting a triple B rating but more importantly are the things that come out of it so we can do better," Mr Kircher said.

The report stated some councillors and staff felt the dedication to the Geopark and the New Zealand Airline Academy was distracting from key economic development.

"I think a lot of the things we have done have proven their worth. It’s about trying to make sure that whatever resources are put into something are relative to the expected return.

"[They] are things that are helping Waitaki move forward."

The report also said councillors felt there were too many meeting documents and were rushed making decisions, and there was a need for greater health and safety transparency.

Some issues raised were of low priority and would be worked through gradually.

Chief executive Fergus Power had already created an action programme in order to make improvements in key areas.

"Every council has its critics. Some will be critical that we’ve done CouncilMARK, but the whole reason is to become better. I’m hopeful people see the reasoning behind that."

kayla.hodge@odt.co.nz

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