Otorohanga District Council Report

Ōtorohanga District Council is largely meeting the core service delivery expectations of its community. However, water infrastructure is old and significant investment is required if Council is to meet regulatory thresholds and service delivery expectations in the future. Further investment in communications and community engagement, including with Māori, would be beneficial.

Otorohanga District Council

Leading locally

Areas for improvement

The Council is committed to building a coherent vision for the district, to provide a foundation for decision-making and engender a stronger sense of community across the district.

Council has maintained a focus on core utilities and austerity for some years. A strong and coherent vision is now needed, to respond to emerging community needs.

Council is led by an open and inclusive Mayor and Chief Executive. They work well together and are committed to ensuring the Council serves the core services needs of the community. Both are respected by staff and stakeholders, but more drive is needed to ensure the Council provides leadership and is responsive to emerging priorities and community expectations.

Investing money well


The Council has a strong balance sheet with low levels of debt. However, a major asset renewal programme is looming. Careful planning and a new financial strategy will be required to fund likely investments.

Financial reporting is relatively immature, and stronger leadership is required for more effective long-term planning and oversight.

Ōtorohanga District Council has prioritised financial prudence in recent years, to the point of austerity. However, with investments in water infrastructure on the horizon, a different approach will be required to ensure investments are adequately funded and service quality and delivery are not compromised.

Delivering what’s important


Council has managed its infrastructure cautiously for many years. Aging infrastructure, more stringent regulations and expected population growth suggest an infrastructure renewal programme needs to be developed, funded and delivered.

A level of boldness is required, to shift the Council from a somewhat conservative culture to one embracing more innovative practices to ensure service level commitments are achieved.

Listening and responding

Areas for improvement

Council has maintained a relatively low profile in the community in recent years. A stronger commitment to more effective engagement with the community is needed. Council’s relationship and engagement with Māori is developing.

Council’s approach to community engagement and stakeholder management has been informal over recent years.

Members of the business community and iwi leaders are calling for higher levels of transparency and engagement, to work together to ensure the vibrancy of the district.