Masterton District Council is overhauling its parks and open spaces maintenance contract – moving to a collaborative model that leverages contractor expertise.

The Council provides 215 hectares of recreation space including parks, lakes, beachfront esplanades, reserves, cemeteries and sports fields. The management and maintenance is outsourced.

An independent review of the Council’s current contract arrangements found significant benefits could be realised by overhauling the contract.

“The current contract has been in place for 12 years and is very transactional – put bluntly, this means we ask the contractor to deliver certain things and also tell them how to do it,” Masterton District Council Chief Executive Kath Ross said.

“That model ignores the fact that providers are doing the same job in other local government areas and the obvious opportunity to leverage that experience.

“This contract has been worth more than $1 million annually – we need to make the most of the services on offer.”

Moving to a “relational” contract will see Council collaboratively set outcomes and programme delivery alongside the contractor.

“With this model we can say ‘hey, we’re quite keen to see this happen, have you done that anywhere else and, if so, how did it go?’,” Ms Ross said.

“It’s a similar model that other Councils including Gisborne, Central Hawkes Bay and Manawatu have taken.”

Council has embarked on a process for procuring the new model of contract with the first step negotiating with the incumbent provider Recreational Services. It will consider requesting proposals from other contractors if a suitable contract isn’t negotiated with Recreational Services.

The current contract ends 30 June 2019.