Local government leaders from other parts of the country have come out in support of Rotorua council after a local residents group criticised its selection for local government awards.

The council is a finalist in three categories of the Local Government New Zealand Excellence Awards; Best Practice Contribution to Local Economic Development, Best Practice in Governance, Leadership and Strategy, and Delivery and Asset Management.

The awards relate to the council's economic development strategy to breathe new life into the inner city, its planning for the Rotorua Way strategy and the Te Aka Mauri Library and Children's Health Hub.

As reported in yesterday's Rotorua Daily Post, members of the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers group on Tuesday wrote an open letter to media, Rotorua Lakes Council members and local government officials around the country.


In it, chairwoman Glenys Searancke and secretary Reynold Macpherson said members of the group were "outraged" the council could win the awards.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick responded, saying Macpherson and the RDRR were in her view against "anything and everything" the council was doing and trying to achieve.

She has also sent an email to other mayors and local government officials who received the email from the RDRR group.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick. Photo/File
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick. Photo/File

New Plymouth District mayor Neil Holdom responded in support of the council.

"My family and friends love your district, we love your people, we love the direction you are leading the community and we vote with our repeated visits with our children, spending money with your businesses and bringing our friends again and again," he said.

"Kia kaha and thank you for having the courage to stand up, to push for what you believe in and for entering awards to share what you have learned with others."

He told the Rotorua Daily Post he and his family were "huge fans" of Rotorua and he welcomed constructive criticism.

"What I like to hear is 'I think you should do this' as opposed to undermining things. We need constructive debate about how we can do things better, I didn't see that."


Auckland councillor Penny Hulse said she admired Rotorua Lakes Council.

"We watch from Auckland and are full of admiration for the awesome work your council does," she said.

"We all have those groups who don't seem to have a good word to say about us."

Ruapehu District mayor Don Cameron also responded, saying he was not surprised by the response from the Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers.

He said the council deserved to be a finalist.

"The Rotorua Lakes Council has been actively supporting regional tourism development efforts and the importance of working collectively to grow jobs, incomes and opportunities in the sector."

Macpherson said he believed Local Government New Zealand officials had "closed ranks" around the awards scheme and that wasn't surprising.