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Published: 2015-10-29 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council’s investigations and incident response manager Patrick Lynch has been recognised as a finalist for a top Australasian professional achievement award.

Mr Lynch, from the council’s resource use directorate, was runner-up for the award at the Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators neTwork (AELERT) conference in Brisbane this week. The award was in the “recognition of achievement within the profession” category.

AELERT is a well-respected and internationally recognised professional network for environmental regulators across Australia and New Zealand. AELERT members work in local, state and federal government agencies to implement and administer environmental legislation. Its awards recognise values and beliefs such as collaboration, leadership, excellence, innovation and improvement in environmental regulation.

Mr Lynch’s work at the regional council has involved building a dedicated team to better respond to the breadth of lower level environmental breaches (more than 1400 a year) that don’t require a formal investigation and sanction.

He has also developed, and maintained, training resources for regulatory staff which are shared nationally in New Zealand and have been recognised as providing the leading reference work in this field, the Basic Investigative Skills Manual for local government. Recently he has been part of an all-of-government project aimed at developing nationally recognised qualifications for compliance and regulatory staff.

The council’s chief executive Vaughan Payne said Mr Lynch’s being a finalist for the AELERT award recognised “a highly talented and effective professional who brings massive integrity to his difficult role”.

“Patrick manages one of the council’s most sensitive and publicly visible areas in a way that ensures correct investigative processes are followed carefully and fairly. He is a great credit to this organisation.

“This recognition coincides with the conclusion of an independent panel that the council’s enforcement practices are excellent compared to national guidelines.”