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Notes on local government issues

Scared of rats in your compost? Try this trick.

Scared of rats in your compost? Try this trick.

I recently opened the lid of my compost bin to find a startled mouse (or young rat, more likely) dining out on the latest load of food scraps. It's no surprise that it chose this spot as the nights grow cooler – with underfloor heating (from the composting process),...

Need to keep in touch with  stakeholders? Try a newsletter.

Need to keep in touch with stakeholders? Try a newsletter.

A newsletter can be an effective, low-cost way for a council to keep in touch with a specific group of people. This could be: volunteers and community groups working with a council on water quality or pest control projects; orresidents living in an area where an...

How to stop worrying about deadlines

How to stop worrying about deadlines

I have spent way too much time and energy worrying about how to meet my deadlines – so my goal for 2022 is to find a way to turn down the volume of that worry (and still get the work done). Here are three techniques I’ve been trialing over the past month, which have...

Struggling with a council document?

Struggling with a council document?

The documents we write for councils may not be Moby Dick or The Bone People, but we still have to put in the hard yards to create something from nothing – and novelists can help us to do this. Australian author Charlotte Wood includes an essay about her doctorate...

Notes from a writing workshop

Notes from a writing workshop

At a writing and editing workshop for council officers I learnt as much as I shared with the group. Here's a summary of what we discussed. I introduced a framework to help us step into the shoes of the people we’re writing for. Empathy mapping involves imagining and...

Five big ideas from the Local Government Review

Five big ideas from the Local Government Review

The Local Government Review is underway, and could lead to significant changes to what councils do and how they are funded over the next 30 years. Ārewa ake te Kaupapa – Raising the Platform is the first report to be produced as part of this Review, and provides an...

Seven ways to structure your advice

Seven ways to structure your advice

People who work in the local government sector are swimming in information, which is a heady mix of central government and consultants’ reports, scientific data, climate change forecasts, and public feedback. They need to wade through this sea of documents to write...

Three takeaways from a writing workshop

Three takeaways from a writing workshop

Over the past month I have been developing in-depth content for a writing workshop which will include a two-hour overview in the morning and three practical sessions in the afternoon. I have been focusing on making sure I have enough content to provide value for five...