Your Questions Answered - Its thank you and goodbye.
Kaipara voters have spoken. With the highest voting participation in Northland at 47.13 percent, the District has elected a Mayor with a resounding majority. Greg Gent drew support from one side of the district to the other.
For the Otamatea ward, three Councillors were elected – Libby Jones, Peter Wethey and Jonathan Larsen.
Mr Gent has impressive credentials. He has a strong governance background and an outstanding record for leading organisations.
His challenge now is to form and lead a great team of elected Councillors. I have no doubt that he will succeed, and as a result of this, the Kaipara district will benefit.
Farewell from the Commissioners
The election marks the end of four years governance by the Commissioners. So, you might ask, how does it feel from the Commissioners’ perspective?
It is the right time to step aside. The tasks that we needed to attend to four years ago have been attended to.
The Council organisation is functioning well. An experienced Chief Executive leads the organisation. He is supported by staff who have considerable skills.
The Council’s financial management is excellent. The audit report for the 2016 Annual Accounts carries no tags. Budgetary disciplines are in place.
Council debt has been brought down to $65 million. We have rearranged our debt facilities to drop funding costs.
Policy frameworks have been put in place to ensure that decision-making is undertaken in a structured and careful way.
Council/Community engagement is stronger than ever.
How things have changed.
Four years ago, no one had a good word to say about Kaipara. Now some of our neighbours in Rodney are petitioning the Wellington authorities to let them split off from Auckland Council to join Kaipara.
Four years ago, growth was dismal. Sections in Mangawhai were not selling and developers had long faces. Today, sections are selling so quickly that Council is urgently needing to revise its town plan.
Four years ago, the extension of the motorway to Warkworth and the replacement of the Matakohe bridges was a pipe dream. Today both projects are being prepared for execution.
Four years ago, Mangawhai Community Park looked like a building site in trouble. Today, its development is orderly and integrated.
Many factors have changed the landscape in that four years. Council has played its part, and Commissioners have added value where they have been able.
And now some thanks
As Commissioners we have been supported throughout our time by Council staff. We acknowledge them for their resilience. They were going through hell four years ago as angry constituents quite rightly blamed the Council for mismanagement. But it was the governance team and the chief executive that should have shouldered the blame, not the staff reporting to them.
Today, the culture of the organisation has changed, and Council’s processes have improved greatly. We thank all staff and three dedicated Chief Executives, early on Steve Ruru, then Jill McPherson and now Graham Sibery.
As importantly, we have been supported by forward looking community leaders, those who have rolled up their sleeves to do community work, and thousands of residents and ratepayers who supported us quietly through the years.
Thank you. Your support enabled the Kaipara District Council to recover.
Now my fellow Commissioners and I will watch with interest as elected members, led by Greg Gent, apply their passion to lift your Council to higher levels of energy and service.
With thanks, John Robertson