The 2024 Civic Financial Services Strategic Finance Forum contains topics intended to strengthen the capacity of local authority finance professionals in their roles both as a ‘trusted advisor’ and as the financial scorekeeper.

  • 10 Apr 2024-11 Apr 2024
  • 09:00 - 17:00
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  • James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, New Zealand
  • 950.00 (plus GST) Members
  • 1,100.00 (plus GST) Non Members
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About this event

This year’s forum opens with a thought-provoking panel on what makes a good finance function – where’s the balance between business insight and the scorekeeper function? Is there a mix of skill and competencies needed – and if so what are they? How important are the so-called soft skills? How do you know that you have a great team – and what are your first steps if you want to develop your team further?

There’s an unashamed focus on technology and its role as a support for the finance function. How can the predictive and analytical power of artificial intelligence be harnessed by finance teams to generate business insight? What’s up with the ALGIM ERP consortium? And the Forum will have a couple of council case studies – a financial systems refresh and a ground-breaking growth forecasting tool.

With our package of optional updates on tax, audit developments, and legal matters, there’s an opportunity to customise your forum experience to your own needs and preferences. And for good measure we’ve a couple of optional case studies from councils taking innovative steps with their funding practice.

And to finish, the Auditor-General will provide a keynote on the future for the risk and assurance functions and its governance through risk/audit/assurance committees.

Who should attend:

  • Finance Managers and staff
  • Anyone with an interest in financial management in local authorities

Note: Claiming CPD Credits

Delegates at this Forum who are members of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) may be able to claim credits towards meeting their Continuing Professional Development requirements. Delegates wishing to pursue this should provide CA ANZ with the forum’s outline and confirmation – which we can supply, of their attendance.

Day One - Wednesday, 10 April 2024

8.45am Registration opens
Tea and coffee from 8.45 am

9.15am Mihi Whakatau

9.30am Welcome to the Forum
Adele Henderson, Chair, Taituarā Financial Management Reference Group and General Manager Corporate Service, Western Bay of Plenty District Council

9.35am What makes a great local government finance team?
Adele Henderson (Moderator), Chair, Taituarā Financial Management Reference Group
Kevin Ramsay, Managing Director, KRConsulting Ltd
Bruce Robertson, Managing Director, RBRL Ltd
Mike Nield, Director – Corporate Services, Taranaki Regional Council

To be followed by a table-top discussion

11.05am Morning Tea

11.25am Trends in the finance function: AI and Workforce
Malcolm Foo, Executive Director- Workforce PwC

PwC will present current trends in finance functions with a focus on emerging tech/AI and workforce trends to be aware of, and workforce strategies for finance leaders to consider in changing operational and economic environments. 

12.15pm The economy in 2024
Urvashi Yadav. Consultant, BERL

NZ’s leading economic forecasters discuss the fiscal, monetary and economic situation nationally and globally and what it means for local authorities and the communities they serve. And it’s a good opportunity for some after sales service on the adjustors.

1.00pm Lunch

1.50pm Marketplace - session one:

Choose one from:

A. NZ’s First Working Infrastructure Funding and Financing scheme
Frazer Smith, Manager Strategic Finance and Growth, Tauranga City Council

The Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act was intended to provide an alternative source for project finance for critical infrastructure. This session deals with the first scheme to complete the necessary community, technical and political processes including how it got off the ground, how it operates, and the implications for the rating system. 

B. A wellbeing approach to funding policy
Gary Borg, Chief Financial Officer, Wairoa District

Taituarā guidance emphasises the importance of the second of the two steps in the funding policy process of section 101(3)a. This session provides a practical example from a council that linked these matters to setting a differential rate, including the analytical and engagement processes, and what you can take from it.

C. The dwelling projection model
Yong Vann, Hamilton City Council
Greg Carstens, Hamilton City Council

Historically, Hamilton City Council’s housing forecasts were provided by external parties and relied heavily on the Census. Using advanced technologies and machine learning techniques, combined with local data and knowledge, Hamilton City Council developed a comprehensive forecasting model that could predict demand for housing in the short and medium term. The resulting projections are valuable for local urban growth and infrastructure strategies and support quality decision making for the community.

The model is the first of its kind in New Zealand with documentation and support available for other councils to use this technology for their own projections.

2.40pm A Word from our Sponsor: ibis

Nigel Hughes CEO, Jordan Hughes General Manager of Sales and Lavinia Hamilton Breeze Implementation Lead - Ibis Information Systems

3.00pm Afternoon Tea

3.20pm Marketplace - session two:

Choose another from the sessions listed at 1.10pm

4.10pm The ALGIM ERP Consortium – A Council’s Approach
Marion Dowd, Chief Information Officer, Western Bay of Plenty District Council

Where is the ALGIM ERP consortium project at, and what lessons can be taken from Western Bay’s experiences with the project?

4.50pm A word from our sponsor: LGFA

5.00pm Summing up Day One

5.10 pm Networking drinks

Day Two - Thursday 11 April 2024

8.30am Welcome to Day Two

8.35am The Financial Services Refresh Project
Jenny Livschitz, Hutt City Council

The Hutt City Council “Finance Services Refresh Project” was a finalist in November 2023 for the ALGIM ICT Project of the year. Jenny Livschitz, Group Chief Financial Officer, will share an overview of the project, including the approach taken to enable building financial capability in the organisation.

9.05am Marketplace – session three

Choose one from:

A. Legal Update
Mike Wakefield and Jonathan Salter, Simpson Grierson

The annual update on statute and case law with an emphasis on those matters relevant to finance managers.

B. Audit Update
Representatives from the Office of the Auditor-General TBC

Reflections on the LTP round to date, recent and upcoming publications, and other matters of interest to finance managers and staff.

C. Tax Update
Phil Fisher, Tax Partner, PwC
Annabel Duncan, Director, PwC

The team from PwC will provide an update on tax issues pertinent to the sector,

10.00am Compound interest – the eighth wonder of the world
Charlie Howe, Chief Executive, Civic Financial Services

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn't … pays it.” (Einstein)

The importance of investing equal amounts at regular intervals and dollar-cost averaging requires patience - it is most effective over long periods of time.

10.30am Morning Tea

10.50am Marketplace – session four

Choose another from the sessions listed at 9.05am

11.45am Communications and rates
Elizabeth Hughes, Managing Director, Elizabeth Hughes Limited

Sage advice on communications, finance, and rating matters.

12.30pm Lunch

1.20pm Taituarā update
Raymond Horan, Chief Advisor, Taituarā

The annual update on all that’s happening in the legal and policy environments, Taituarā, and its good work for and on behalf of the sector.

1.40pm The Future for Risk and Assurance Committees
John Ryan, Auditor-General

Every local authority now has a Risk/Assurance/Audit Committee, mostly with independent leadership. To finish, some views from the Auditor-General regarding the next steps on the journey.

2.40pm Summing up and close

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact

The programme above represents that confirmed by Taituarā at the time of writing (December 2023). We reserve the right to amend the programme to accommodate changing circumstances.


Adele Henderson
General Manager Corporate Services, Western Bay of Plenty District Council Read Profile
John Ryan
Auditor-General Read Profile
Mr Kevin Ramsay
Director Kevin Ramsay Consulting Ltd Read Profile
Bruce Robertson
Director at R Bruce Robertson Limited Read Profile
Mr Mike Nield
Director, Corporate Services Read Profile
Malcolm Foo
Executive Director- Workforce PwC Read Profile
Urvashi Yadav
Consultant, BERL Read Profile
Frazer Smith
Project Finance Manager Read Profile
Gary Borg
Chief Financial Officer, Wairoa District Council Read Profile
Yong Vann
Hamilton City Council  Read Profile
Greg Carstens
Read Profile
Nigel Hughes
CEO Ibis Information Systems Read Profile
Jordan Hughes
Product Manager, Ibis Information Systems Read Profile
Marion Dowd
Chief Information Officer, Western Bay of Plenty District Read Profile
Jenny Livschitz
Chief Financial Officer Read Profile
Mike Wakefield
Partner, Simpson Grierson Read Profile
Phil Fisher
Tax Partner, PwC Read Profile
Charlie Howe
Chief Executive, Civic Financial Services Read Profile
Elizabeth Hughes
Elizabeth Hughes Strategy & Communication Read Profile
Raymond Horan
Chief Advisor, Taituarā Read Profile