Establishing Desired Maintenance Levels of Service / New Zealand
New Zealand Local Government Act legally requires councils to consult with their communities on their long-term plans. The consultation plan provides an effective basis for public participation in infrastructure decision-making associated with the long-term plan. It includes a fair representation of overall objectives, and how tax levels, debt, and levels of service might be affected by the intended plan and can be readily understood by interested or affected people. The Auditor General recently reviewed plans produced by communities across the country. Key findings highlighted aspects that help define good practice:
- Consultation documents present their information in a concise, readable and understandable way.
- Clear and unambiguous explanations on why proposed taxation and debt increases and significant changes in plans or intentions were considered “affordable” or “equitable” make consultation documents more effective.
- Some communities used a road-trip analogy throughout the document. The analogy makes technical subjects relatable without over-simplifying the issues.
- Some used a personalized approach that connected with people. For example, one uses two primary school children, Maia and Xander, who are pitched as the “champions of the Long Term Plan 2018-2038.”
By focusing on the inclusion of transportation customers, New Zealand municipalities are better able to address customer needs, inform customers of the actions they are taking, and refine work planning practices to address concerns critical to infrastructure operations and customer expectations.
Read more in the chapter: 4.1.2 Defining Asset Service and Performance Levels