Wellington Scoop

Regional Council given AA rating for “standout” performance

Wellingtonians who are concerned about the Regional Council’s less than satisfactory bus changes will be bemused to know that a report from the local government “excellence programme CouncilMark” says we are being well served by the Council.

The Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) received a AA rating in its first CouncilMARK™ report, “with its strong focus on financial decision-making, transparency and communication and public engagement noted as ‘stand out’”.

The result was released in March.

GWRC joins Waimakariri District Council as having received an AA rating, the highest achieved by councils so far and the system’s second top in its nine-point scale.

Local Government NZ’s CouncilMARK™ reports are “designed to give councils and communities an informed and independent view on how they are carrying out their role as councils, including on where they are excelling and areas for improvement.”

Local Government New Zealand President Dave Cull said the AA rating was an excellent result for GWRC and the report would be a useful guide for further improvement and a resource for the wider sector.

“I congratulate Greater Wellington for showing leadership by joining the CouncilMARK™ programme and on what is an excellent result,” Mr Cull said.

“CouncilMARK™ is the gold star assessment system for councils and communities and has been praised by many of those to have completed it so far, with both the assessment process itself and the final reports proving valuable,” he said.

“Local government is committed to providing the best possible outcomes for our communities and doing this requires the sector to focus on delivering the best performance and value we can.”

Here’s the 16-page AA verdict in full.

The “key learnings” are:

Following non-amalgamation in the region, further clarity is needed between the respective governance and management roles of Elected Members and management, and the means of most efficiently managing Council processes…

The quality of the Council’s internal reporting needs to be reflected in its external reporting. The latter needs to more concisely, clearly and consistently report to the public on its progress towards its community outcomes and strategic goals, as well as provide clearer value for money measures.

Although it has skilled and dedicated staff, the Council will need to consider whether its internal capability and capacity will match future demands and timeframes for delivery, and expectations of staff.

And later:

The backgrounds of Elected Members are varied, but with more distinct party-political representation than exists in many councils. This appears, on occasions, to present greater challenges to achieving a consensus on strategic issues. However, they were complimentary of the staff, describing them as “extraordinarily responsive” which had helped build a relationship of mutual trust and respect. The organisation responds effectively to the ability of Elected Members by providing intensive workshops on matters requiring development…

GWRC would now benefit from an annual self-assessment process at individual, collective and Council level, as well as reviewing the decision-making processes. Elected Members expressed some frustration at the volume of “for noting” reports that are provided, although they also recognised that these were declining.

And areas for improvement include this one:

The Council should ensure consistency and alignment between new strategies, projects and outcomes.

(Were they looking at the bus planning?)


  1. Alana, 18. August 2018, 1:33

    Is CouncilMARK (TM) a Monthy Python-style prankster?

  2. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 18. August 2018, 14:46

    Fair comment Alana. Take for instance the Python team’s ‘Fish Licence Sketch’ where mention is made of the Cat ‘license’ and ‘Cat detector van’ and we have a clear comparison.

    CouncilMark is an arm of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), the industry association for the local government sector. They are a private incorporated society with zero statutory function or rights. As such, they are not bound by either the official information act or the local government official information and meetings act. They operate behind closed doors directing the activities of the elected representatives and staff at city, district and regional councils.

    Occasionally LGNZ hands out these assessments and awards to territorial authorities who tow the line and follow LGNZ and indeed globalist directives. Another example may be found in this press release from LGNZ. If we strip away the glitzy press release wrapper and the inevitable spin, what remains amounts to facets of socialism giving each other an incestuous massage so everyone involved feels good about themselves.

    LGNZ are the organisation who came up with the Cat control remit document at their 2017 AGM which was then forwarded to central government, and at their 2018 AGM in association with the globalist organisation New Zealand Initiative launched their approach to ‘Localism’ which may be read about here. In our view, smart citizens would do well to observe the actions of LGNZ with a critical eye. [Abridged.]

  3. Jonny Utzone, 18. August 2018, 18:22

    I thought Moody’s, Standard and Poors and Fitch were ‘living in a different world’ when they gave finance companies etc AAA ratings in the GFC. Well, take a bow LGNZ for ‘living on a different planet’ with your ratings!

  4. Trevor H, 18. August 2018, 19:00

    @Sekhmet Bast Ra. I agree with you. The hastily torn perforated edges of this inbred “award” are obvious to anyone.

  5. Trevor H, 18. August 2018, 19:21

    On further reflection such a prestigious award should also come with a free can of air freshener.