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8 March 2021

An independent assessment of Masterton District Council has highlighted significant improvement since it was first assessed as competent in 2017.

The Local Government NZ CouncilMark assessment is a voluntary process, with the Council’s assessment now a “strong” BBB, up from a BB.

The Council was assessed in four priority areas:

  • Governance, Leadership and Strategy – Competent (2017 assessment Competent)
  • Financial decision making and transparency – Better than competent (2017 Competent)
  • Service delivery and asset management – Performing well (2017 Competent)
  • Communicating and engaging with the public and business – Performing well (2017 Competent)

This represents a two-step lift in communication and engagement, and service delivery and asset management, and a one-step improvement in financial decision-making and transparency.

In its report, the Independent Assessment Board was positive about both elected members and the Council’s leadership team.

“Elected members displayed a passion for issues affecting their community and, on most topics, a sophisticated level of thinking.

It said the 2021-31 long-term plan, to be consulted on in April, presented an opportunity to “effectively advance community wellbeing”.

“The improvements have been significant across a broad spectrum of Council’s activities….   (and) the Council has been creative in its attempts to engage with its community, including responding to and changing the way it communicates to ensure good engagement.”

And it noted the impact of the strategic leadership team: “The chief executive and her team have brought a refreshed approach to management of council’s affairs.”

Mayor Lyn Patterson said the rating showed council performance was definitely headed in the right direction.

“I’m very pleased with the result. It reflects the effort that staff and the elected members are putting in to not only doing the mahi, but communicating and engaging with the community.

“We will continue to work hard for our community – and the next big push will be to maximise consultation on the LTP.”

Chief Executive Kath Ross was proud of the result but focused on further improvement.

“I want to congratulate and thank the staff at the Council for their contribution in lifting these results in a relatively short period of time.

“The report highlights the significant improvements that have been made since our last assessment and also provides recommendations for improvement and challenges to be addressed,” she said.

“Many of these are already integrated into our programme of continuous improvement.”

The CouncilMark media release is available here.

The full CouncilMark report can be found here.