Publication:

Bush Telegraph - 2021-10-11

Data:

Tēnā koutou katoa

FOCUS ON FARMING

Noho ora mai, Tracey Collis

Local Government across New Zealand is experiencing challenges similar to many other businesses, trying to attract and retain the skilled and talented workforce we need as we face unprecedented growth and demand. This has been a challenge, particularly in our building and planning services, for some time. As we face high demand, it has been difficult to meet statutory deadlines due to our limited resources. Soaring consent numbers and deadlines are all reported in Council agendas as it is important to recognise and understand the challenge growth brings. Like many of our neighbouring councils we need to adjust the way we deliver these services to manage these shortages. As a result of pending retirements and staff leaving our Building Control Team, Council’s Chief Executive is working on a plan to address these issues. There are a number of options available, and they will be carefully considered with the support of the leadership team and our elected representatives. The leadership team are very confident that a solution will be in place prior to any staff departures to ensure that there is minimal disruption to service. Our building and resource consent fees are low in comparison to some of our neighbouring councils. Our focus is on providing value, both in fees and charges, alongside offering free advice to enable growth and ease of process. Management and governance will be monitoring how any new service performs in regard to service and cost. Building consent costs are fixed in our fees and charges for this financial year and will not increase without community consultation. It is often difficult for small councils to compete with salary and career opportunities so we need to focus on how we can do things differently, for example; sharing resources, offering flexibility and making council a more attractive place to work. This is all underway as we prepare for further skill shortages and pressures as identified in the Three-Waters discussions. Our staff are working hard and we are fortunate and grateful for the team of exceptional people here at Council, working for our communities.

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