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Working together for good decision making

Last updated: 31 August 2023
Reporting frequency: Quarterly
Portfolio: Regional and strategic leadership

We are working effectively with Ngāi Tahu, territorial authorities, communities and organisations to shape a thriving and resilient region together.

We will broaden collaborative community engagement to enable and enrich participation in decision making and will influence central government decision making to achieve Canterbury community outcomes. We will increase investment in data, science and mātauranga Māori to support informed decision making.

This work includes:  

We are building the value of data as an asset and improving access to data, science and mātauranga Māori to support informed decision making, from mana whenua, individuals, businesses, policy and law makers.

We make data and information available through our website and make environmental monitoring data available through the Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website and add to the information available from Canterbury Maps. 

Our governance services team ensures that Council meetings are supported and provide robust and transparent governance processes that allow community participation, and our advisory team provides customer advice and incident reporting channels. 

How are we tracking on our Levels of Service?

Level of Service 32: Enrich community participation in regional decision making and action

As part of this level of service we will:

  • 32.1 Raise community awareness of Council’s role and work and actively promote and enable opportunities for participation
  • 32.2 Increase engagement with young people across Canterbury to lift awareness and understanding of the work of the Regional Council (target for 2022/23: Provide support for an additional 25 Enviroschools from the 2021 waiting list by the end of 2022/23)
  • 32.3 Support the Environment Canterbury Youth Rōpū to engage with young people through events and activities across the region
  • 32.4 Enable community organisations to actively contribute to Council’s community outcomes

How did we do: See below for further information on Te Kōrari/People's Panel and our Youth Rōpū, both of which contribute to maintaining or increasing levels of awareness of how to have a say.

In addition, Councillors attended a wide range of events across the region, raising awareness of the work of Council. In an independent survey of a random sample of community members, one in three (33%) of participants were aware that you can have a say in the work Environment Canterbury does. The survey has a margin of error of ± 4.4%, making this comparable to the results of the 2022 survey (34%).

In 2022/23, 25 additional Enviroschools have signed up to the programme and are being supported in their work.

To support community organisations to actively contribute to Council’s community outcomes, we provide a contestable fund – the Waitaha Action to Impact Fund. For 2022/23, the funding available was increased through the Annual Plan process to $600k and 66 new applications were received (totalling $1.3M). 35 community-led projects were allocated funding for 2022/23 from the Waitaha Action to Impact Fund. This is a combination of 14 successful applicants from 2021 receiving multi-year allocations, and 21 new applicants for 2022. The details of the allocations are reported on our website.

Level of Service 33: Work in partnership with territorial authorities to promote coordination and collaboration

As part of this level of service we will:

  • 33.1 Support the Canterbury Mayoral Forum to operate efficiently and effectively in the interests of Canterbury

How did we do: The Canterbury Local Authorities' Triennial Agreement 2022-2025 was approved by all Councils by March 1 2023. We provided secretariat support to the Canterbury Mayoral, Chief Executives, Corporate, Operations, Policy, Economic Development and Communications and Engagement Forums to enable their efficient and effective operation. This has included facilitating engagement with Central Government on several key matters, including resource management, health, Three Waters reforms and the Future for Local Government Review. More information and updates can be found on the Mayoral Forum website.

Level of Service 39: Collect, maintain and share quality-assured data for mana whenua, the community, businesses, and policy and law makers to use

As part of this level of service we will:

  • 39.1 Update and publish state of the environment information throughout the year on water and land, air quality, biodiversity/ecosystem health, and coastal environment
  • 39.2 Implement data governance procedures to curate and share our data
  • 39.3 Explore and develop innovative data services, including through partnership arrangements
  • 39.4 Maintain and enhance access to our data, and facilitate sharing and use of data, publicly available mātauranga Māori, and citizen science

How did we do: Places we share data and information include our website, Canterbury Maps, and Land, Water, Air Aotearoa (LAWA).

We saw a further uplift in the number of users of Canterbury Maps from 300,000 users in 2021/22 to over 325,000 users in 2022/23.

As part of our integrated planning work programme to review the Regional Policy Statement and parts of the Land and Water Regional Plan (and implement the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020), we developed and published new information on our website called 'What we know'. This showcases what we know about the resource management issues affecting the Canterbury/Waitaha region and its people. With enhanced functionality for users, these web pages include navigation to interactive maps and current state of environment statistics, together with explanatory text, photos, and infographics.

Level of Service 40: Provide robust and transparent governance processes that allow community participation

As part of this level of service we will:

  • 40.1 Ensure Council and Committee meeting dates, locations and agendas are publicly available at least two working days before the meeting

How did we do: On track. Information about Council and Committee meetings is provided on our website.

Level of Service 40: Provide robust and transparent governance processes that allow community participation

As part of this level of service we will:

  • 40.2 Respond to official information requests within statutory timeframes

How did we do: In 2022/23 we received 226 formal requests for information. Unfortunately, we missed the statutory deadline by one day for one request. This was received during the period of Cyclone Gabrielle when there were additional pressures on our staff, some of whom were providing assistance for the emergency response. This was a complex information request, involving 160 pages of material. All others were responded to within the statutory timeframes.

Not achieved

How are we doing on our key initiatives?

Responding to Government direction

How are we doing: In quarter four (April-June 2023), staff undertook an analysis of the Parliament’s Environment Committee’s report on Resource Management reform and the report on Future for Local Government. A submission was made on strengthening National Direction on renewable electricity generation and transmission and draft advice provided to inform Government’s second national Emissions Reduction Plan.

Read our submissions on our website.

On track
Increase engagement with young people across Canterbury

How are we doing: Our work includes supporting the Youth Rōpū, working in partnership to support Enviroschools across Waitaha, and providing educational support and resources to schools. Alongside Enviroschools activities such as a hui in Waimakariri, there was a geography field trip in South Canterbury and multiple water, biodiversity and waste-focused education sessions in Selwyn, Christchurch City, Waimakariri and Banks Peninsula. The Youth Rōpū hosted a hui with 25 representatives from Greater Christchurch high school environment groups/councils.

In June, staff supported the Youth Rōpū in attending the Festival for the Future event in Wellington.

Our Youth Rōpū advocates for a youth voice in decision making and was successful in a proposal to have two youth members appointed to the Council’s Regional Leadership, Climate and Community Resilience Committee with full voting rights.

On track
Te Kōrari/People's Panel

How are we doing: The members of Te Kōrari/People's Panel are invited to provide feedback on specific topics each quarter. At the end of June 2023, 283 people had signed up to Te Kōrari. The quarterly survey topic was focused on our Engagement, Significance and Māori Participation Policy, to support a review of the policy. It asked what aspects of the policy worked, and what could be done to make it clearer or easier to understand when and how community engagement would occur.

On track

Recent highlights and updates

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