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Exciting times . . . Waitaki Deputy Mayor Melanie Tavendale looks forward to a year of training and learning experiences with the Local Government New Zealand National Council. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

It is an exciting time for Waitaki Deputy Mayor Melanie Tavendale, who has been invited to join the Local Government New Zealand National Council.

She will be an ex-officio member for the next 12 months.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to be able to learn from some amazing leaders from across the country,” Cr Tavendale said.

LGNZ is a membership organisation that represents 78 local, regional and unitary councils around New Zealand.

Cr Tavendale will also be enrolled in the governance development programme, funded by LGNZ. It was created to help younger people develop their governance expertise and experience.

“It’s a brand new programme, so I’d say we’re all going to be learning about what works and what doesn’t.”

Although she was excited about the upcoming year, Cr Tavendale said she was nervous about some of the challenges that lay ahead.

“It will be a really exciting way to get my head around the big issues and what is currently being discussed.”

The first year of the development programme will run until April next year.

“It is really exciting. I guess, after four years on council, you’ve done a lot of learning in that time and it’s a really good opportunity to lift your focus to a national level and to keep learning in a leadership role.”

Joining LGNZ was important because it was difficult to receive national-level training when working at a smaller council, Cr Tavendale said.

“When you’re at smaller councils, you don’t have the budget and the ability to do a lot of training at a national level.

“For me, it was a perfect opportunity to work on what I might have a look at in myself and where my strengths are and what I want to improve.”

Cr Tavendale acknowledged the support of Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher, local councillors and Waitaki District Council chief executive Fergus Power.