CEO Today Global Awards 2022

eace and tranquillity, excitement and adventure, the Buller District has it all- topped off by an enviable climate, laid back lifestyle, and close community environment. Stretching from Punakaiki in the south to Karamea in the north, and inland as far as Springs Junction, the district covers 8,574 square kilometres, boasts two national parks (Kahurangi and Paparoa) and Victoria Forest Park, two heritage areas and is home to a population of 10,000. As the territorial authority for the northern West Coast, the Buller District Council has a wide range of responsibilities under the Local Government Act, with an overall goal of promoting the well- being of local communities including the townships of Westport, Punakaiki, Karamea, and Reefton. Sharon Mason is an experienced Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in local government with more than 20-years’ experience as a health executive in the New Zealand and Australian health systems. She has a proven track record of success in leading transformational change, building positive workplace culture, and delivering strategic results which are the very skills which brought her to work for Buller District Council, an entity which had been through significant turmoil prior to her arrival. As CEO of the Buller District Council, Sharon Mason has championed its transformation. It now ranks second for GDP growth in New Zealand and leads economic growth for the West Coast Region. Buller District’s economic indicators have significantly improved for the first time in over a decade. She has achieved this by working in partnership with her team, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, central government, local businesses, and the community. Sharon has led the development of an economic strategy for Buller. This has led to job creation, and positive GDP improvement over the past three-years, and secured funding of $18m from the central government’s Provincial Growth Fund for the development of strategic assets. By reporting a positive GDP even through the COVID-19 pandemic, Buller has unexpectedly bucked the national trend. the recent quarterly Infometrics report showed Bullers GDP for the year to December 2021 was 12.3% higher than the previous year, a very strong result. Tourism expenditure in Buller has grown 17.5% over the year to December 2021, this growth runs counter to the regional and national picture in New Zealand. In 2021, the Buller District was subject to a significant flooding event which resulted in hundreds of residents being displaced from their homes, creating a level of angst and uncertainty in the district. The resilience of the Buller community has shone through and Sharon has overall responsibility for the flood recovery programme. Sharon is also a trustee for the Buller Health Trust. When a local GP decided to close his practice, she championed the purchase of Coast Medical to ensure GP and health services were retained for the Buller community. “You cannot underestimate the importance of having access to local healthcare to ensure families and children are not having to take a day off work, or school, to travel out of the district for health care.” As a trustee of Buller Health, Sharon continues to be innovative and has worked with local builders to develop a purpose built facility to bring together Coast Medical, Westport Dental Service, and Coast Physio into one facility. Having these primary health care services in one building will create a one-stop-shop for enrolled patients and the Buller community and will incorporate a modern and contemporary feel along with a quality fit-out. Sharon was recently named as a finalist in the New Zealand Women of Influence Award 2021, Public Policy category. Her nomination was based on her ability to lead and influence resulting in a significant positive difference for the Buller District. Sharon says: “It is a real privilege to have been the CEO of Buller District Council of the last 3.5 years, leading the district in partnership with elected members and the community through district wide economic revitalisation, navigating a significant flood event and providing sustainable primary health care services.” 104 www. ceotodaymagazine . com CEO Today Gl oba l Awa rds 202 2 CEO, Bul l e r Di s t r i c t Counc i l Sharon Mason P W W W . B U L L E R D C . G O V T . N Z

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