Taranaki Regional Council's Riparian Management Programme is a finalist in the 2019 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Excellence Awards.

The programme is a long-running collaboration with local farmers.

The LGNZ Excellence Awards, now in their sixth year, recognise and celebrate the key leadership role local government plays within communities around the country.

Enthusiastic buy-in from farmers is a key feature of Taranaki's riparian management programme, one of the world's largest restorative freshwater programmes supporting native habitats and improved ecological health.

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The $100 million programme is largely land-owner funded. The council has been working with farmers, rural residents and community groups to transform the Taranaki landscape since the early 1990s.

Through this collaboration, the council has developed individualised riparian management plans and has supplied up to 500,000 native plants to plan-holders at cost each year.

More than 15,400km of stream banks are covered by the voluntary programme.

The council is a finalist in the Excellence Award for Environmental Wellbeing for the Riparian Management Programme.

The award criteria is for a project that enhances the environmental well-being of its community; demonstrates a sustainable process, with durable results; and/or makes significant improvements in health and safety.

The judges praised the programme as "a long-standing initiative with proven success".

LGNZ President Dave Cull says being named as a finalist reflects strong leadership and innovative work being delivered by councils across the country.

"These Excellence Awards demonstrate the value local government provides to community, economic development, infrastructure and the environment," he says.

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"The sector should be incredibly proud of its achievements as we celebrate these outstanding projects. The finalist projects are real examples of how local government delivers exemplary value and services to New Zealanders in a collaborative and inclusive way."

The other environmental category finalists are: Hamilton City Council for installing 13,000 customised LED street lights, and Thames-Coromandel District Council for its network of fast-charging stations that puts the entire district within range of electric vehicles.

Judges for the awards are former Wellington Mayor, Dame Kerry Prendergast, distinguished diplomat and public servant, Sir Maarten Wevers, and Executive Director of the New Zealand Initiative, Dr Oliver Hartwich.

Category winners will be announced at a gala dinner during the LGNZ Conference in Wellington on July 8.