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Malcolm Alexander

Malcolm was CEO of LGNZ from 2012 to 2020 and before that had a career in the energy sector and the law. During his time LGNZ’s position on localism was developed which advocated for the empowerment of democracy at a local level through the transfer of functions and funding from central government to local government.

Since his departure local government has experienced a number of governance crises, culminating, in the case of Tauranga City Council, with the removal of elected members. Elsewhere around New Zealand, many ratepayers are being faced with the prospect of double digit rate increases at a time when incomes are stagnant and housing costs move beyond the reach of first home buyers. In such a world, is localism still relevant?

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Sarah Colcord

Sarah is the founder of the largest Facebook Group in New Zealand, Chooice (formerly New Zealand Made Products) and the co-founder and Managing Director of the e-commerce version Chooice.co.nz. She has extensive knowledge and experience in youth participation, local government, and project & event management.

Sarah is a former elected member of the Manurewa Local Board, elected to Auckland Council when she was 20 years old and the Manager for Auckland Youth Voice, Auckland’s leading network for Youth Participation. She is also a Duffy Book Role Model for low decile schools, a Board member for the YWCA Auckland and a Board member for the Open Government Expert Advisory Panel with the Public Service Commission. Sarah is a two-time Kiwibank Local Hero Medal Recipient.

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Matu-Taera Coleman-Clarke

Matu is an experienced teacher, kapa haka tutor and cultural advisor of Ngati Porou, Te Whakatohea and Te Arawa descent. Driven by his family and culture, he takes pride in providing the best information and knowledge as possible.

As a Teacher/Cultural Advisor with Hokonui Rūnaka, his goals are to ignite the desire for Te Āo Māori and to help open closed doors for Rangatahi. Matu was also part of "Tuia", a rangatahi driven kaupapa for Rangatahi Māori, working with the Mayors’ Taskforce. In addition to his primary jobs, he also sits as an Orator for many marae and a composer for many schools in Southland.

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Stuart Crosby

Stuart is the President of LGNZ since July 2020 and was the Vice President from July 2017 to July 2020. He represents Zone Two on National Council and is a Councillor for Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

He has been an elected representative since 1986, serving as chairman on various committees, a period as Deputy Mayor and Mayor of Tauranga City Council. Stuart has a business background both in the electrical contracting and building industry. He now devotes all of his time to council and to the wider community.

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Brendan Duffy

Brendan was appointed as a temporary member of the Commission in March 2017 and as a full member in June 2018. He was Vice President of Local Government New Zealand for 3 years and chair of its Rural Provincial Sector for 6 years. Brendan was first elected as a member of the Horowhenua District Council in 1995 and served as Mayor of Horowhenua from 2004 to 2016.

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Jim Geddes

Jim is currently the Head of the Arts and Heritage Department of Gore District Council. He headed the development of the Hokonui Heritage Centre in Gore and was instrumental in establishing the Eastern Southland Gallery, which in 2003 underwent a major redevelopment, with a new wing added to house the John Money and Ralph Hotere Collections. Currently he is working on the planning of a major expansion to Gore’s Arts & Heritage Precinct, and (thanks to a generous gift from Auckland’s Muka Studios), the establishment of a professional lithographic studio and artist-in-residence facilities in an historic former church.

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Councillor Sophie Handford

Sophie is the founder of School Strike 4 Climate NZ and coordinated the movement alongside others during its first year. She graduated from Kāpiti College in 2018 and has now gone on to become New Zealand’s youngest elected Council member on the Kāpiti Coast District Council. As she is the Paekakariki - Raumati Ward Councillor, she also sits on the Paekakariki Community Board.

She is determined to be able to say she has done everything in her power to create a more beautiful world for generations to come.


Jim Harland

Jim is the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Waimakariri District Council.

Prior to this Jim was the Director Regional Relationships - Southern, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. He has been involved in a number of projects including chairing the Visiting Drivers Project, the Kaikoura Restoration Liaison Group and the Road Controlling Authority Forum, and was a member of the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuilding Team Board. Jim led a Ministerial Road Maintenance Task Force (2011-2012) and chairs the Road Efficiency Group which is responsible for implementing the findings.

Before joining Waka Kotahi, Jim was Chief Executive of Dunedin City Council. This followed senior roles in local government and the private sector, specialising in strategic thinking, tourism, change management and leadership of complex projects. The World Health Organisation has used Jim's expertise in understanding and leading communities on several occasions to further their Healthy Cities Initiative.

What are some of the major “disrupters” and reforms that are coming that will impact on your communities?
How does transport fit into this picture?
Who do you need a strong relationship with and how do you make this happen?
Concluding thoughts on what this means for community boards.

NZCBC Jayne Mc Allister

Jayne McAllister

Jayne is the new coordinator for Safe in the South, she was previously a community advisor for Emergency Management Southland where she was assisting communities in community response planning and community resilience. Jaynes involvement with community is not been limited to her work, volunteering in different community organisations across the years she is now the elected Southland Area Chairperson for New Zealand Red Cross.

Jayne is a born and bred Southlander living in the metropolis of Invercargill with husband Ewan and a nowadays empty nest and a full fridge.

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Lisa McKenzie

Lisa is currently employed as the Hokonui Huanui Lead. She has been involved in various socially focused community development initiatives in the Gore District over the last 20 years, including the establishment and development of the Community Networking Trust, developing policies and processes for the Youth Worker Trust, developing a model of service provision and delivery of the Family Innovations initiative, was the Gore District Social Sector Trial Lead and most recently supported the scoping, development and delivery of the Huanui project.

Lisa has a worked at the coal face in the social sector with roles as a Youth Worker, Strengtheing Families Coordinator, Field Worker, Family/Whānau Support Worker and as facilitator of various programmes. Working at the coal face, seeing common issues and opportunities for change drives her desire to be involved in community development, believing that often small adjustments to a system or process can have a significant positive impact. She is passionate about working collaboratively to maximise resource and get the best outcomes for individuals and the community.

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Damian Newell

Father, broadcaster, ex councillor, vegan political junkie, pacifist, recidivist activist.
Love animals, yoga and the planet - also some people.

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Steve Pettigrew

Head of External Communications, Chorus

Steve joined Chorus’ Corporate Relations team in 2015 in a role that, today, looks after the fibre company’s external communications. An engineer by background, Steve has a fascination with technology but even more in helping others get the most from it. An import from the UK in 2004, Steve’s first role in New Zealand was as enterprise marketing comms manager for Telecom. In 2006, he joined Telecom’s wholesale team, spending four years helping establish Telecom as an authentic wholesale provider before taking up a role with KPMG. Steve lives in Auckland with his partner Gaby, his two ever-hungry teenage boys, a dog and two cats.

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Donald Riezebos

Donald is a Principal Advisor to the Commission. He has long experience with representation reviews, going back to 1998, and experience with a wide range of local government issues ranging from the rates rebates scheme and dog safety to local government reorganisation, elections and Māori wards.

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Ken Ross

Ken Ross holds a double major B.Sc. in Zoology and Geography and an M.Sc. (Hons) in Behavioural Ecology. This eclectic mix of subjects has shaped him, somewhat intentionally, as a ‘Human Ecologist’.

Human Ecology (how humans live within their lands) has been the theme of Ken’s life through careers in teaching, tertiary and adventure education and the maritime tourism industry.

In 2005, when the Far North District Council was setting up a ‘Community Development Department’, Ken grasped an opportunity to work in Community Development in the highly variable and sometimes, truly isolated communities of the Far North, and his passion holds him in this role today

Ken has a deep understanding of the ‘sustainability challenges’ facing humanity, the impacts of the 1989 Local Government Amalgamations on the communities of the Far North, and a unique perspective on how to ‘solve for pattern’ to ameliorate these challenges.

It is probable, that well before you heard the word ‘Localism’ or even before it was coined, Ken was working with Far North communities and helping them to create Community Plans, in which their aspirations for ‘Tinorangatiratanga’, ‘Subsidiarity’ and higher levels of self-determination and community governance were being discussed and written into their respective Community Plans.

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Saniya Thompson

Saniya is a Community Connections Librarian at the Invercargill City Libraries and formerly a coordinator of Safe in the South. She was a key player in gaining accreditation of Invercargill City, Southland District and Gore District as an International Safe Community. Prior to coming to NZ from Moscow in 2014 she worked as the Director of International Affairs for the Russian Kickboxing Federation; through these experiences she truly appreciated the importance of community development and the challenges and rewards of successful cross-cultural communication. Saniya believes that her passion for the community can influence positive change. One of the ways of driving a positive change is through dance - in 2015 Saniya co-founded a pole and aerial dance studio in Invercargill where you will often find her on pole or other aerial apparatus defying the laws of gravity.


Bridget Williams

Bridget is the founder of social enterprise, Bead & Proceed, (www.beadandproceed.com) which exists to educate people about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and inspires action towards them through creativity. Her passion for sustainability and using creativity as a tool for innovation has made her a recognised SDGs expert, assisting businesses and organisations with SDG strategic alignment and target reporting. She employs these skills to help businesses make authentic sustainable change and is renowned for her energy and enthusiasm, ensuing all staff and clients are taken on an SDG journey.

As a former solicitor, Bridget thrives solving complex problems and practicing effective leadership in her governance roles. This includes being Deputy Chair of the Fendalton/Waimairi/Harewood Community Board and Trustee of the Christchurch Arts Festival.

Bridget is also Curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Christchurch Hub and member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network, which has led her to become a creditable global change maker. Her efforts have been recognised and endorsed by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark and the JCI Osaka Outstanding Young Person’s Programme.