Waikato Regional Council Report

Waikato Regional Council demonstrates competency and leadership in delivering its core functions and addressing a range of regional issues. The Council has wide environmental, economic and social responsibilities, and in general it collaborates well with stakeholders to achieve its strategic outcomes. While areas for improvement have been identified, the Council’s overall performance is good.

Waikato Regional Council

Leading locally

Better than competent

The Council is performing competently particularly in areas of leadership and innovation. The Council is a leader on issues and services for the Waikato region. While it previously had a more antagonistic relationship with regional stakeholders, the Council now works with them to meet integrated economic, environmental and social goals. Greater regional coherence reflects the Council’s adoption of collaborative governance, leadership and strategy with stakeholders, if not (yet) with the broader public. There is room for improvement in the Council’s internal systems and its culture to support its improved external position.

The Council has a focus on providing leadership in economic, environment and social change through effective working relationships and organisational management.

Some opportunity exists for the Council to create greater inclusion in its objectives with external stakeholders.

Investing money well

Stand out

Council finances and oversight of risk are in hand. The Council has no external debt and its investment fund is prudently managed and governed.

The Council operates few public utilities apart from bus services across the region. Regional public services include navigation safety, river management, flood protection, drainage, biosecurity, farm extension, road safety, waste minimisation and enviroschools.

The Council is funded primarily from rates and charges, and has the benefit of an investment fund to draw upon (internal debt). There is full budgeting of all Council activities.

Delivering what’s important

Performing well

The Council’s overall quality of service delivery generally responds to and in some cases anticipates needs. Given the range of councils in the region, and its size and the complexity of the broad issues addressed by the Council, the quality of planning and service delivery is generally of a high standard. The Council is active in leading regional initiatives, shared services and collaborations that have widespread benefits, providing they are affordable and achievable across the region.

Significant restructuring has resulted in a re-alignment across all areas of the Council.

The Council’s planning processes, as well as the information it makes available to stakeholders and the community, is comprehensive and up to date. There is verification of the quality of its service delivery, and the leadership role that Council takes on regional matters and initiatives is recognised and actively supported.

Listening and responding

Better than competent

The Council adopts a strategic and audience-centric approach to engagement and communications. The new communications strategy is comprehensive and include issues management as well as customer services and brand promotion. While the Council is effectively engaging and communicating, there remains widespread public misunderstanding about what the Council does.

The Council faces complex and often entrenched issues across the Waikato region, and its audiences are diverse – for example, there are 208 Iwi and hapu in the region.

The Council is not well-understood by Iwi, or by its communities and region. It needs to carefully manage its engagement and communications to help it achieve the broad aims outlined in its strategic direction.