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Collaborative start for councillors

Thursday, 24 October 2013 4:30 p.m.

For immediate release: 24 October, 2013

Newly elected councillors for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council have gained a head-start on their term today, with a workshop on improving engagement with communities and volunteers. 

The workshop was presented by international speaker and author Jim Diers, at Mt Maunganui. Mr Diers encouraged his audience to consider the power of neighbourhoods, connecting people in places and influencing our future.  During the workshop participants explored how organisations can break the silos of government, collaborate more and empower communities.

“Regional Council is committed to good governance and democratic decision-making.  Jim was a really inspiring speaker with great stories to share.  The workshop was helpful in getting our Councillors and staff focused on ensuring that our planning processes are accessible for the community,” said Fiona McTavish, Strategy General Manager.   

Regional councillors were joined by senior council staff and local district councillors including Tauranga City Council Mayor Stuart Crosby, Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor Ross Patterson, and Kawerau District Council Chief Executive Russell George.

Mrs McTavish said that, “Supporting better engagement with community will be essential for the success of major projects Regional Council is leading, like the Tauranga Harbour, the Rotorua Lakes, the Kaituna Maketū Strategy, Regional Spatial Planning and River Scheme Sustainability in the Eastern Bay.”

“As key partners in these projects and many more, we were delighted to be joined today by representatives from partner councils across the region, especially at the beginning of a new triennium,” Mrs McTavish said.

Jim Diers teaches courses in community development at the University of Washington, and serves on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute.   He travels the world, delivering workshops aimed at inspiring organisations to support their communities to make their visions for the future a reality, and to give participants a better understanding of how this is underpinned by local government collaboration.

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For further media information please contact Katrina Knill, Communications Advisor, on 0800 884 880.