Our Council

We are responsible for sustainably managing Otago’s natural resources of land, air and water on behalf of our community.

Our main activities are:

  • Environment
  • Safety and resilience
  • Transport
  • Regional leadership

This includes:

  • Setting policies and rules to protect Otago’s water, land and air resources
  • Monitoring the environment – collecting data and knowledge to inform decision making
  • Responding to environmental incidents
  • Taking a lead role in pest management
  • Taking an active role in minimising risks from natural hazards
  • Keeping you safe along our coast and on our lakes and rivers through our Harbourmaster function
  • Civil Defence Emergency Management
  • Providing public transport in Dunedin and Queenstown (Orbus)
  • Providing support to community groups for environmental enhancement
  • Taking a lead role in responding to issues that affect Otago, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and urban development

ORC is also responsible for promoting the economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing of the region.

Our work covers all of Otago and our focus is on the environment and natural resources. What we do as a regional council is different from local city and district councils, who focus on meeting the day-to-day needs of their community through services like roading, three waters (drinking water, waste water and stormwater), building regulations, libraries, parks, recreation and city/town planning.


Organisational Structure

Otago Regional Council is governed by 12 councillors, elected by the residents of Otago every three years. We employ approximately 200 people who are based around the region.

Our main administrative centre is in Dunedin, with satellite offices in Alexandra and Queenstown, and depots in Balclutha, Oamaru, Wānaka and Cromwell.

Our work is overseen by Chief Executive Richard Saunders (Richard.Saunders@orc.govt.nz) and a team of five general managers.


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