Upper Hutt City Council serves a largely urban community, with adjoining lifestyle blocks and significant areas of native bush. Leadership is provided by a long-standing Mayor and capable Chief Executive. Relationships with the business community and other stakeholders are largely positive and those with Māori/iwi are developing, as Māori/iwi finds their voice.
The Mayor, councillors, Chief Executive and the Executive Leadership Team have an established vision for the city, and display a strong commitment to serve residents and the business community, and their respective interests.
Investing money well
Upper Hutt City Council has a long history of austerity, and of keeping rates rises in check. However, the Council now needs to consider whether policy changes are required, to ensure service expectations and longer-term renewal requirements are catered for.
The Council’s financial position is strong. The community has indicated a willingness to pay for additional services and higher service levels on a value-for-money basis.
The Council’s financial strategy is rational and reasonable. Affordability of rates has been a primary driver for Upper Hutt City Council. Rates levels are generally consistent with other similar councils in New Zealand. The basis and make-up of rates is explained well in Council documentation.
The strong focus on rates control and conservative expenditure to fund necessary maintenance and basic infrastructure renewal has dominated the Council’s approach to financial management for many years. However, more recently, the community has indicated a willingness to pay for additional services and higher service levels, so long as value-for-money is not compromised.
Delivering what’s important
The Council’s delivery of core infrastructure services is sound. A comprehensive land use strategy and associated suite of asset management plans are in place.
Upper Hutt City Council makes extensive use of region-wide arrangements, contracted parties and shared back-office services to deliver services to the community.
The regional approach to service delivery has enabled the Council to achieve value-for-money and quality-of-service outcomes that would not otherwise have been achieved if the Council had acted alone. The shared service model has also enabled strategic resilience projects to be funded and implemented.
Listening and responding
The Council’s Mayor and councillors, Chief Executive and staff all have a strong commitment to effective communication and high levels of engagement with community stakeholder groups. Stronger relations with Māori/iwi are being formed.
Council engagement with its community is strong and effective, with evidence of considerable formal and informal engagement.