Optimism as new Council sworn in
A strong public turnout attended the Dargaville Memorial Hall for the swearing in of Kaipara’s first democratically elected Council since 2012.
All were welcomed by Kaumatua and Kuia with formal proceedings introduced by CEO Graham Sibery.
This also signified the final appearance by the Commissioners ending their three year tenure as Kaipara managers.
Chairman John Robertson spoke of the rich and vigorous composition of, and growth within, Kaipara and congratulated the new council members for their commitment in being part of a return to normal management and governance in Kaipara.
In response, Mayor Greg Gent thanked the commissioners for brining stability again to Kaipara through a difficult time.
“The Commissioners have set the table for Council putting plans and policies in place for the next three years and the new Council is inheriting a stability which needs to be built on through strength and unity, though we are well aware of the serious decisions to be made as part of our role.”
In naming Mangawhai’s Peter Wethey as Deputy Mayor, Gent said this establishes a necessary and important conduit between west and east and feels the make-up of Council will restore the brand that is Kaipara.
New Council members commented that impromptu meetings had already given indications that the Council will be a strong and active body.
Local Iwi also expressed strong support for Dargaville representative Karen Joyce-Paki saying they now felt better represented than perhaps in the past.
Following light refreshments a presentation was made to departing Commissioners John Robertson, Richard Booth and Peter Winder by Richard Gunson on behalf of the Mangawhai Business Development Association.
Winder will remain closely connected to Council as Government-appointed Crown Manager, overseeing ongoing litigation action, and new Government-appointed Crown Observer Barry Harris , who has a strong background in local government, will play perhaps a ‘watch-dog role ‘ in support of the new Council.
The ceremony carried a definite air of support and optimism and one feels the new Council will not take long finding their feet and making their presence felt in matters of priority which will not only stabilise but advance the immediate future of Kaipara.
NEW ERA: Kaipara District Council is now, back, Jonathan Larsen (Otamatea Ward), Libby Jones (Otamatea Ward), Karen Joyce-Paki (Dargaville Ward), Greg Gent (Mayor), Andrew Wade (Dargaville Ward). Front, Anna Curnow (West Coast/Central Ward), Victoria de la Varis-Woodcock (West Coast/Central Ward), Julie Geange (West Coast/Central Ward), Peter Wethey (Otamatea Ward, Deputy Mayor).