A second AA rating from expert assessors of Council’s performance across New Zealand has reconfirmed the view of Waimakariri District Mayor Dan Gordon – Waimakariri has a stand-out Council. The Independent Assessment Board that oversees the Local Government Excellence Programme CouncilMARK™ described Waimakariri District Council as “showing that councils can consistently deliver high performance for their communities.” As part of the programme, the Council was assessed by an independent board of experts in key areas including governance, strategy and leadership, financial decision making, delivery of services, and communication and engagement. Council humbled by result Mayor Gordon says the second AA rating is the result of listening to the recommendations of the previous report and working to address areas where improvements could be made. This was shown by the improved rating in financial decision-making and transparency, from ‘performing well’ in 2017, to ‘stand out’ in 2020. “We are really pleased with this result – knowing full well that we are one of only two Councils among 33 assessed so far to get to AA level – and it is testament to the work ethic of the whole organisation. “To achieve this twice, on top of Standard and Poor’s maintaining our AA/A-1+ credit rating late last year, is evidence that external assessors across multiple organisations view Waimakariri District Council as a stand-out. “While we are very humbled by this result it doesn’t mean now it’s time to rest on our laurels,” says Mayor Gordon. “The theme of ongoing improvement identified by CouncilMARK™ is something we as an organisation take to heart and want to continue – in fact a benefit of the programme is having this report which identifies areas for further improvement in years to come.” Ongoing improvements key to success Launched in 2017 by Local Government NZ (LGNZ), CouncilMARK™ is led by an Independent Assessment Board which provides a rigorous, transparent assessment of council performance, as well as a pathway for continuous improvement for the sector. LGNZ President Dave Cull praised the Waimakariri’s second AA rating, and their improved grades in two key areas. “They’ve strongly linked their finance and asset management strategies, enabling council to aggressively implement the communities’ vision as set out in the Long Term Plan. “If you look through the CouncilMARK™ ratings delivered so far, you won’t see many AAs, which is a testament to the rigor of the Independent Assessment Board, and the performance of the Waimakariri Council in achieving this rating, not once but twice.” You can view the full CouncilMARK™ summary and report here.