News, Events and Culture

World Health Organisation officials to assess City

Tuesday October 29 2013

Palmerston North City has applied to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for accreditation as an International Safe Community.

As a city, the planning began for the application ahead of the 2009 Long Term Council Community Plan and was adopted by Council through the Safe City Strategy 2012 as an action that Palmerston North City would undertake.

Mayor Jono Naylor says accreditation will be recognition of our City's long and proud history of working collaboratively with a diverse range of organisations and their on-going commitment to safety for all residents within our city.

"Accreditation recognises our city is a safe place to live, work and play for everyone. We'll be able to access new funding for projects to develop infrastructure and injury prevention projects."

"We will join an international family of Safe Cities and be able to access information about successful projects in similar sized cities and apply them here in Palmerston North."

"It will also provide us with an opportunity to promote the city as a safe community which is especially valuable for recruitment and retention of employees and businesses."

The application is supported by the Palmerston North Safety Advisory Board (PNSAB) - An interagency partnership, formed to provide information and guidance to the Palmerston North City Council on all matters pertaining to safety and crime within Palmerston North.

Chairperson of the PNSAB and Police Area Commander, Inspector Pat Handcock says PNSAB provides the framework which allows for a collaborative approach.

"Key agencies share ideas, resources and efforts to make Palmerston North a safer city in which to live and work. If we are accredited then it will be because of the hard work of members, their organisations and the hundreds of volunteers across the city who are all working towards a safer city."

"Through the application process we've come to realise that our efforts to date have put Palmerston North in good stead when compared with other communities," says Inspector Handcock. "However, it's also highlighted that we need to do more - particularly in the area of suicide prevention."

On Wednesday, 30 October WHO officials will be in the city to assess the programmes that make up the City's application. The application focuses on target groups and environments that are high priorities for partners of the PNSAB these are: Road safety; Emergency preparedness; Family/whānau; Youth; Elderly; Crime prevention and reduction; Workplace safety; Drug and alcohol harm reduction; Sport and leisure.

Inspector Handcock says the WHO officials will visit a wide range of communities and community groups to assess their endeavours. By the end of Wednesday the assessors will advise whether they will be recommending accreditation or not.  It will then take about a month before we hear back from the WHO about the success of our application.

"The accreditation process not only provides recognition for what we have achieved to date; it also provides a 'road map' of what we need to focus on in the years to come."

If Palmerston North is accredited, it will be the 25th Safe Community in New Zealand and there will be a designation ceremony either later in the year or in the New Year.

You can find out more about the initiatives by requesting a copy of the Safe City application and by visiting which details efforts by other cities that are members of the Safe City community.