New Kaipara District Council CEO Graham Sibery is now three weeks into his tenure and settling into life in Dargaville. That also means gradually finding his bearings throughout the Kaipara and coming up to speed with operations prior to elections which will see a new governing team.
UK born, but with the influence of an Aussie father, meant he was probably destined to head down under at some point. He spent ten years with British Rail, implementing big infrastructure contracts in a high population area that demanded a system that worked.
His portfolio involved similar work in Adelaide and Melbourne plus a two-and-a-half year stint in Auckland, which means he is not entirely a stranger to New Zealand.
Though Australian councils had an extra layer with State Government as well as Central Government he sees similar issues here to those elsewhere.
Of the Kaipara he says: “It’s a diverse area from west to east, each requiring different elements to keep Kaipara working as one body and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it. I’m certainly aware of issues from the immediate past but my concern is on the future and together with the new council will be working towards balancing the economy with prudent management ensuring progress even though reform might not always meet with approval.”
Sibery’s strengths lie in planning, transport, infrastructure, contracts and service delivery and he aims to be part of a successful operation promoting stability and growth.
“We can’t change government policy in a hurry so need to work with it. At any time legislation can be made up of forty to fifty different pieces but it must be kept in context,” he adds.
He is looking forward to the transition to the new Council in October and robust political debate to get a concensus within Council for the best paths to follow on any aspect. This also means fulfilling obligations while developing and improving the assets of the area and keeping finances under control.
He invites feedback from business people and residents on what they feel will keep Kaipara moving forward as a community and is looking forward to working with the Council’s staff, the new Council, and the community at large.
“There is satisfaction in implementing big contracts well and getting them to work,” says Sibery with quiet confidence. “Successful and well-managed projects that gain public support are a good way to make sure we get our fair share of what Wellington has to offer.”