Each year, the Office of the Controller and Auditor General releases a report on local government activity across New Zealand. The Report looks at a range of local government issues including how they are facing the risks posed by climate change, how they are spending and investing on infrastructure and consenting on development. In this year's report, Ōpōtiki District Council featured heavily as an example of best practice in its rollout of upgrades to its wastewater infrastructure.
The report notes that Ōpōtiki District Council was used as an example of a council which "aware of the climate-related risks facing its community, worked systematically towards getting better information about its wastewater assets to deliver a cost-effective programme. Many councils already work closely together and learn from each other's experiences. Ōpōtiki District Council's experience is one I hope other councils learn from."
Ōpōtiki Mayor, Lyn Riesterer said she was incredibly proud to see national recognition for the outstanding work of the Council.
"There is nothing quite like seeing your own organisation's name in print as an example that others can learn from. Ōpōtiki ratepayers should be rightly proud of their small council getting outstanding results for the community.
"The work of the engineering team and Ari Erickson, Engineering and Services Group Manager in particular has been outstanding.
"The AOG used our project as a great example of a robust process that started with good data collection, good governance and sound evidence-based decision making processes. The report says that Council implemented "an effective solution which saved the Council and its community money".
"At the end of the day, we have a better wastewater system that came in on time and under budget and we know that it has led to fewer overflow incidents. That is a community win," Mayor Riesterer said.