President | Director of Governance, Auckland Council
Phil Wilson commenced as Governance Director in 2015. He was previously Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Auckland and led the Mayor’s office. He has a long background in local government and has previously been Chief Advisor at Manukau City Council and spent many years before that leading HR and communication functions.
Phil is on the National Executive for Taituarā.
Vice President | Chief Executive Officer, New Plymouth District Council
Craig is a proud born and bred Taranaki lad and is currently the Chief Executive of New Plymouth District Council, a position he has held since 1 November 2017. A local government lifer, Craig is now in his 43rd year in the sector and has previously worked for Hawera Borough Council, Palmerston North City Corporation and Hawera District Council before spending 28 years in a variety of roles at South Taranaki District Council, the last 131/2 of those as Chief Executive.
Craig has been actively involved in sector activities for the last 20 years and has held governance positions with ALGIM and Taituarā as well as been a member of various LGNZ forums and Working Parties.
Craig is a self-confessed adrenalin junkie and speed freak and has a fondness for fast cars, good food and fine wine.
Vice President | Chief Executive, Central Otago District Council
Sanchia is the Chief Executive at Central Otago District Council. She is an experienced public service leader who has had a career that has traversed the globe, primarily in international, economic and operations roles. She has worked in both central and local government. She was a New Zealand diplomat and trade negotiator prior to taking up a series of leadership positions at Auckland Council, including as the Manager of Global Partnerships and Strategy, and the senior role of Executive Officer Operations. In 2015 Sanchia became New Zealand’s 21st Eisenhower Fellow, and in 2020 Taituarā awarded her the Skills Organisation Melbourne Business School leadership scholarship, Leading for Strategic Success.
Sanchia is driven by a desire to effect positive change and leave a legacy for future generations. Her reputation is as a strategic leader, an innovator and a (relatively) young CEO committed to building a vibrant local government sector. She passionately believes in the power of local government and is committed to working as a collective to consider the future of the sector and how it can enhance service delivery and ensure its people are forward looking, change responsive, and equipped with the right skills for the dynamic environment in which they work.
Northern Branch Representative | General Manager Engagement and Transformation, Kaipara District Council
Jason has 20 years’ experience in government roles, with a focus on governance management and leadership. He is passionate about democracy and ensuring that today’s governance professionals make a positive impact on decision-making.
He began his career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force, before spending some years at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington D.C., supporting our extensive military attaché network in the US. On his return from overseas he completed his Bachelor’s degree, before taking up a management role at North Shore City Council.
In 2007, he started at the Auckland City Council in Democracy Services before being successful for the Governance Support Manager role at the Auckland Council in 2010. Jason completed his Masters’ in Public Management through Victoria University in 2014 and joined the Whangarei District Council as the Governance Manager in 2015. He is now the General Manager Engagement and Transformation at the Kaipara District Council.
Midlands Branch Representative | Chief Executive, Otorohanga District Council
Tanya has been in local government for over 20 years and is currently the Chief Executive of Otorohanga District Council. She has only been in the role for eight weeks, but is no stranger to a CE role. Tanya would be one of the few Chief Executives who has made the leap from second tier to a CE role in local government, not once, but twice.
This time two years ago Tanya presented to this very forum. At that time she had just been suspended as Chief Executive of Westland District Council. In what Tanya calls “the perfect storm” she found herself embroiled in a very public situation that would be a worst nightmare for many people less resilient. By the end of April 2017 Tanya was unemployed and thought her local government career was over. But her passion for the sector was unwavering, and in August 2017 she took on a very different second tier role at Otago Regional Council. In the 18 months that followed she applied for six CE roles. Not one to be discouraged, Tanya’s grit, determination and belief that she had unfinished business as a CE saw her landing the Chief Executive role at Otorohanga District Council.
Central Branch Representative | Chief Executive, Whanganui District Council
Kym Fell is the Chief Executive of Whanganui District Council and is the Chief Executive for the Whanganui Airport Authority, a local government and Crown joint venture.
Reporting to the Mayor and 12 elected members, Kym has an Executive Leadership Team (ELT) of five Senior Managers overseeing 233 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff delivering over 100 services to the Whanganui District. WDC has a depreciated asset-base of $1.1 Billion and an annual revenue base of $88 Million.
As a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and Institute of Management New Zealand (IMNZ), Kym holds governance roles on four entities; these being the New Zealand Masters Games Ltd, Sarjeant Gallery Trust, Manawatu-Whanganui Local Authority Shared Services, and more recently as the Midlands Branch Executive for the Society of Local Government Managers (Taituarā).
Former roles include ‘Director Corporate’ for Regional Facilities Auckland, overseeing Auckland Stadiums, Auckland Zoo, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland Conventions and Auckland Live. Prior to this, Kym was the General Manager for Grand Hotels International based in Tasmania and South Australia.
Wellington Area Representative | Chief Executive, Hutt City Council
Jo Miller has been Chief Executive of Hutt City Council since July 2019. She is working with a new Mayor and Council, staff, iwi, partners and the community to ensure Lower Hutt is the very best it can be for all its people.
Jo previously held one of the most high-profile local government jobs in the UK, with an outstanding track record for motivating people, creating solutions and brokering agreements in major housing, economic regeneration and capital investment schemes.
As Chief Executive at Doncaster Council, Jo was recognised as having brought exceptional growth and optimism to a previously economically depressed town. The Local Government Chronicle said Doncaster had been “dragged up from the depths of despair to something to be proud of.”
Landmark projects with a total investment of £2 billion boosted economic performance, putting Doncaster in the UK’s top ten for growth. Jo was elected President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives in 2016 - 2019 and led the leadership portfolio on behalf of the profession. In 2017 the Local Government Chronicle named her the third most influential person in local government.
Top of the South Branch Representative | Manager, Strategy & Engagement, Waimakariri District Council
Over the past twenty five years Simon has held a range of policy, planning and management roles working in, and consulting to, both local and central government in New Zealand. Simon is a member of the Waimakariri District Council's Executive Management Team. Simon is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, the International City County Management Association as well as an Associate Fellow of the NZ Institute of Management. Simon sits on a number of Boards and Committees, including Taituarā. From 4 September 2010, when the first quake in the Canterbury Earthquake sequence struck, until 2015 Simon was the Recovery Manager for the Waimakariri District Council. This contribution was recognised in 2013 through a CDEM Ministerial Gold Award for outstanding contribution to CDEM in New Zealand.
45 South Branch Representative | Manager, Planning and Environment
Louise has had a long career in local government. Her professional background is in resource management planning, and she currently holds the position of Executive Manager-Planning and Environment at Central Otago District Council. Louise is committed to working for the community and has led master planning and spatial planning to deliver on community aspirations. She is a Civil Defence controller for the Council.
Outside of work Louise enjoys hiking and biking in the stunning landscapes of Central Otago.