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Mayor's Memo



5 Sept, 2022


jasonKia ora,

Trustworthiness is at the heart of Kaipara District Council, which aims to be “a trusted Council”. It’s been a long journey back from the edge of local democracy and the Kaipara Commission during which time there were appointed Commissioners rather than locally-elected Councillors and a Mayor. At four years, between 2012 and 2016, the Kaipara Commission was the longest in New Zealand’s history and was required to establish the course of actions to fix the extraordinarily large debt challenge for our ratepayers of the Mangawhai Community Wastewater scheme. Around that time “trust in Council” was badly damaged. That needed to be fixed.

Trustworthiness and confidence in the Council has been slowly restored since 2016, and since I’ve been Mayor of Kaipara District we’ve actively sought the trust of Kaipara people in Council. Trustworthiness and the ongoing restoration of trust in Council is a particular feature of Kaipara District, and it is not a feature of neighbouring councils because their histories don’t demand this. We now have “Being A Trusted Council” as a stated goal for this Council in the Long Term Plan 2021-31, for without that we’re building badly on what’s gone before and risk missing what the people of Kaipara want and deserve. I’m happy to report that in the recent Residents’ Perception Survey of the Council the overall satisfaction with Council has increased from 57 percent last year to 61 percent this year. In the same survey the level of Council reputation has also increased from 65 percent to 66 percent, and the satisfaction with core services has increased from 61 percent to 64 percent. These are all positive improvements as measured by the community, and they point to the successful rebuild of trust in Council that’s underway.

Trustworthiness also comes through transparency and open-ness of the Council. Finding new ways for Council information to be shared with the community has lifted the perception of Council’s preparation for the future to 54 percent from 49 percent last year. Growth in numbers of Kaipara people using the smartphone Antenno app for alerts about Council services was 46 percent, up from the 30 percent target. KDC Facebook page growth (measured by ‘follows’) are up by 38 percent, and Kaipara Korero e-newsletter subscriptions are up by 34 percent, exceeding the 20 percent growth target. More ways for Kaipara people to engage with Council and its decision-making ultimately leads to better Council performance.

Trustworthiness, transparency and openness help our local democracy shine. Particularly, trustworthiness of Council for Kaipara District people is a big deal, and, whether fragile or flourishing, will be an important measure for years to come.

Nga mihi,

Mayor Jake

Dr Jason Smith, Mayor of Kaipara District

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