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Japan experience for chief executive

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Wairoa District Council chief executive Steven May will experience the Japanese culture as part of a Local Government Exchange and Cooperation Seminar.

Mr May has been selected as the New Zealand local government executive representative on the Japan trip which will also include four Australian representatives.

The aim of the trip is to provide a better understanding of Japan and its system of local government through exchanging information, opinions and promoting network building.

Mr May said he was thrilled to have met the criteria and been selected.

“The visit is a total win/win. The Japanese Government will pay for my accommodation, including homestays and internal travel. I have opted to pay for my own airfares and will take annual leave so there is no cost to our local ratepayers.”

The visit is also an ideal opportunity for Mr May to visit Wairoa’s sister friendship city of 26-years, Kitaibaraki.

“Our Sister City is arranging accommodation and day trips over the four-day visit so this will again be cost neutral. For this leg of the trip I will be working in an official Council capacity.

“And the timing could not be better as a contingent from Kitaibaraki will visit Wairoa in March, so this is an ideal prelude to that.

“Personally, it is great to have my skill set recognised by being selected for this trip and also great exposure for our district.”

This year’s exchange theme is Encouraging Local Development through Primary Industries: Local Industry Promotion.

The exchange comprises of two components. The Tokyo Programme provides an opportunity to learn about Japan’s local government system with theme-related site visits in Tokyo and a regional programme that will take place in Miyakonojo City, Miyazaki Prefecture.

Mr May said the trip is a great opportunity to look at how another country’s local governance is run and also a chance to bring new and fresh ideas back home to Wairoa.

The trip will include visits to a wastewater treatment plant, landfills, and a tsunami recovery site so there will be plenty of parallels to explore.

“A focus is also to encourage economic development so it will be really interesting to see how Wairoa could benefit from international relationship like this.”

31 January 2020

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