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Kaipara ‘back in business’ says mayor


New Council welcomed with powhiri-470A large group attended the inauguration of the new Council in Dargaville last week with the newly-elected mayor and councillors of Kaipara District welcomed with a powhiri in front of council staff, iwi representatives and members of the public.

The mayor was sworn in by Kaipara District Council CEO Louise Miller, then the swearing in of all members including the new faces of Eryn Wilson-Collins, Mark Vincent and David Wills before publicly acknowledging the appointment of Councillor Anna Curnow as deputy mayor.

In his inaugural address for the triennium, mayor Dr Jason Smith reflected on this being the 30 year anniversary of the formation of Kaipara District Council. 

While aware of problems of the past the mayor said Kaipara is undergoing a renaissance, is “back in business” and the future was looking bright, with Council debt now significantly reduced and Kaipara experiencing the fastest-growing population of any district in the North Island in the last six years, at 20.6 per cent growth. 

“There is too much to do going forward to spend time looking back,” he said, emphasising the importance of collaborations and partnerships, with Council increasing the strength of its relationships with iwi partners and neighbouring councils, a comment which met agreement from Whangarei mayor Cheryl Mai and Northland MP Matt King who were also in attendance.

Dr Smith also acknowledged Kaipara’s responsibility to play a part in tackling climate change. 

“We don’t do hysteria,” he said “but look forward to creating a climate-smart Kaipara accepting innovations and meeting our obligations between two oceans and two harbours with commonsense.” 

In assessing his Council the mayor believed there was now a good base for ‘cross-pollination’ of experience, energy and ideas leading to untapped social, cultural and economic opportunities.

Team Kaipara is, from left, Cr Mark Vincent (Otamatea Ward), Cr Eryn Wilson-Collins (Dargaville Ward), Cr David Wills (West Coast-Central Ward), Deputy Mayor Anna Curnow, Mayor Dr Jason Smith, Cr Victoria del la Varis-Woodcock (West Coast-Central Ward), Cr Peter Wethey (Kaiwaka-Mangawhai Ward), Cr Karen Joyce-Paki (Dargaville Ward), Cr Jonathan Larsen (Kaiwaka-Mangawhai Ward). 
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