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Kōrero from the Chief Executive

Video script - 14 June 2019

Kia ora whanau, hope you’ve had a good week.  It’s been a really busy one and I apologise right up front that this video is probably going to be a little longer than normal which reflects there’s quite a bit to touch on.

Monday saw the Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development and deputy leader for New Zealand First, Fletcher Tabuteau turn up with Central Government officials to announce the first stage of the Provincial Growth Fund investments into Hawke’s Bay.  We hosted them here in Heretaunga and then moved down as a region into Waipawa Central Hawke’s Bay for a series of announcements.  They are investing $68million over 19 projects – the main ones largely being in infrastructure including roading predominantly for Waipukarau and $30million for water with around $13million tagged to the Heretaunga Plains, some investment for our Council’s planning work around the Eastside Master plan and then some other range of investments in some programmes to assist with our focus on youth employment.  

So a fairly significant day on Monday and we are expecting to see the government back in the next two to three months with a series of other investment announcements that we continue to work with them on.

I would like to acknowledge Craig Cameron and Craig Thew and their teams in the transport area and the economic development area who have put significant work into our applications, and not just Hastings but supported our colleagues in Central particularly with the roading projects. Thanks Team.  

Tuesday and Wednesday we had the hearings on Craggy Range remediation and again I would just like to acknowledge that this has obviously been a significant issue for council over the last year or so, and represents the next point in the journey to remediate the track and a lot of work for the teams and again would like to particularly acknowledge all of our staff, John O’Shaughnessy and James Graham for fronting that over Tuesday in chambers and Wednesday out at the marae in Waimarama.

Then as we have moved towards the back end of the week, we have seen Fabulous Flaxmere and the opening of the upgraded playground in Flaxmere.  A big shout out to Craig Thew’s team and particularly Rachel.  Another great project that has been delivered, I popped out and saw it this morning, Ka Pai looking really awesome, but Fabulous Flaxmere, we had the opening of the playground Thursday afternoon, and this morning a number of councillors and staff have been out for the breaking of soil at the Waingakau development in west Flaxmere.  Looking forward to this evening to getting back out to Flaxmere for the celebration of Matariki, and “Happy Matariki” everyone.  Then tomorrow morning we have got the Fun Run and a number of us taking part in that.  I won’t be doing so much running, but looking forward to dressing up and doing the walk around Flaxmere park tomorrow morning.  So a lot going on.

Another great thing that happened this week, we also got near on $5million of investment from the government towards the redevelopment of our Municipal buildings, another major step towards, in our not too distant future, having our Opera House precinct across our plaza, the Opera House and the Municipal buildings as a fantastic asset for our community.

So that’s a lot from me but I guess a really amazing week across a lot of fronts that represent the progress that we are making on all manner of things that are really important to our community

Redeveloping out CBD, having quality infrastructure that really supports our economy and communities, getting housing underway and celebrating our communities so as I say a great way to finish the week in terms of Fabulous Flaxmere and the four events across there.  And as always to Alison and her team, just awesome the way that you get wrapped around all these community events to really celebrate and promote great activity and being Hastings proud.

I think you are going to hear now from Rachel around the Flaxmere playground and I hope that you have a really great weekend and I’ll talk to you all again next week.

Ka kite everyone.



Previous videos

Kōrero Mai - Have Your Say



Video script

Kia ora te whanau, Nigel here, this isn’t my normal weekly video, I wanted to talk to you specifically about the recent “Korero Mai – Have Your Say”, staff survey.  

I thought it was really important just to communicate back to you pretty quickly about some of the results and where to from here.  

So can I start by just saying thank you first and foremost to all the staff that took the time to complete the survey.  We ended up having 75% participation rate which was really good, and obviously really important for me and the Lead Team.  For me personally it’s the first survey obviously in my time here as the Chief Executive and we wanted to hear from as many of our staff as possible, so really appreciate you taking the time to give us feedback.  

We got lots and lots of feedback and I’m busy working my way through it and doing lots of reading and thinking about the things that have been raised.  So, what did you tell us at a high level, firstly from an organisational point of view there is nothing really broken.  We are a solid local government organisation that is middle of the road.  We are not that statistically different in terms of the results from two years ago and we are smack bang in the middle of local government sector in terms of the participation rate and engagement levels.  

So for me and I think for all of you, given our aspirations for what we want to achieve for our community, the aspiration is higher than being middle of the road.  

What were the positive things out of the survey.  Again probably not surprising, people enjoy working at the Hastings District Council, they enjoy the people that they work within their team and are proud of the impact that they can have for making their community a better place to live – for our residents and ratepayers.  

The other pleasing things were, that staff said that generally the leaders in the organisation behave in a way that is consistent with the values of the organisation.  But there were also some key themes that emerged around things that we need to do better.  

Firstly and I think really importantly, we are not utilising our greatest asset which is you, in terms of all your wisdom and ideas.  You told us that you don’t think that you get enough opportunities to provide feedback, and when you do provide feedback that is not always acted on.  You said we are not consistently good at projects and in particular reviewing projects, celebrating successes and identifying learnings.  You raised a number of issues around the physical working environment and things that could improve your experience of work.  You said that we need to get better at making connections and working across the organisation.

A couple of things that I want to reflect that probably for me were a couple of the more concerning results and areas of feedback, were that a large number of you do not have clear performance objectives and performance plans and talked about not always getting the career development and training to do your job.  For me I am going to make a personal commitment that everybody that works here is going to have written performance agreements, I don’t think it is okay, and we can’t be a really high performing organisation if that is not the case.  We had some staff comment that they had worked here for many years and in their whole experience here they had never had a performance and development plan.  For me that’s simply not good enough and we are going to make a commitment to change that.  

The other area that I found concerning was that a very large number of staff felt that they were not empowered to do their job. So the combination of staff saying we don’t think we get asked enough for ideas and feedback on things, and when we do provide feedback it doesn’t get acted on and we don’t feel empowered to do our job, are things that I am really curious about responding to quite quickly.

So a couple of things just to finish this video.

We are going to get into ways of trying to seek more feedback from staff and use survey tools to do that.  So one of the things that we are going to do today and there is a link with this video.  We are going to ask you one question that we want feedback on, and that is:

“What changes to your role or the way you work would make you feel more empowered to do your job at the council? “

So I’m again going to ask you to take the time to give us some feedback, extend a bit of goodwill to us because we are looking to get your feedback on issues that are important to you and then respond to your feedback.  

So the link is on the bottom of this video and again I am just asking you to exercise your voice.  

For me and the Lead Team, in a couple of weeks’ time we have got half a day put aside to work through with the “Ask Your Team”  experts to go through all the feedback that we have got and start to develop our plan around how we are going to respond.  I think that there is a whole lot of great feedback that you have given us that are relatively quick ones to get on with and then some things that are a little bit more complicated and that are going to take some time.  But my commitment to you is that we will be really transparent about “this is what you said” and “this is what we are going to do about it.”  Certainly look to empower you and give you the opportunity to exercise your voice in terms of helping us all to work on the things that are going to most shift the performance of our organisation and the feeling of what it is like to work here at HDC, but the opportunity that we collectively have to make a bigger difference for our communities.  

Thanks very much for taking the time to complete the “Ask Your Team” survey, those are some of the early reflections out of what you told us and in relation to this issue of feeling not empowered to do your job, I am asking you to give us some feedback again.  So thank you in advance for doing that and I am going to be talking to you regularly about the engagement survey results and more importantly the action plans.  

So until next time, see you all later.

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