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More council benchmarking in the near future

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Councils around the country reacted angrily to the blunt comparisons in the 2017 Ratepayers’ Report released by the Taxpayers’ Union last month, as they have since 2014.

For our District Council the claim it has the highest staff ratio of New Zealand’s five unitary authorities was hard to swallow as the figure used, 397, included students and rural firefighters. The full-time equivalent staff number of 281 would be a better figure for comparison — so why don’t councils all have that number readily available?

These reports might have spurred Local Government NZ to launch its excellence programme, CouncilMARK, which is “designed to improve the public’s knowledge of the work councils are doing” and “to support individual councils to further improve the value they provide” to ratepayers. It also involves performance assessment that will no doubt eventually provide a kinder, fairer benchmark than the Taxpayers’ Union report.

Gisborne District Council has yet to be assessed for the programme but will be in the near........

© The Gisborne Herald