I’ve been seven weeks in the job now and I wanted to share with you where my time and focus has been spent.
One priority was bringing my councillors together. We have four new people elected and five returning, so developing a consensus on how we are all going to work together is crucial. Everyone is unique, has different life experiences, world views, and all have varying knowledge about how local government works, so my role as Mayor is to harness all of that good energy, goodwill and skill sets and channel all that into how we govern well as a Council.
As a team, we’ve already had some challenging conversations about a few issues - but the discussion was mature, respectful and intelligent. That is how we will continue to operate.
We’ve got some major issues we’re dealing with as a country, as a region, and at a micro level in the Coromandel. There’s the Three Waters Reform, the Resource Management Reform, the cost of living going up with inflation soaring, supply chain disruption and labour shortages - some of which is out of our control.
But there are also ways we, as communities, and as a Council, can respond, influence and adapt so that we still see some positive outcomes for our people.
So, in that respect, I’m putting together a framework of how our Council will be able to partner, collaborate and work more effectively with our communities, our iwi, central government and other key partners to develop long-term aspirations and short to medium-term plans.This will involve bringing people and information together – making sure opportunities, issues and needs are well understood and well articulated.
Having local infomation and data will help us in our local decision making so we can improve social equity, workforce capability and better housing choices for all.
My thinking has been reinforced by the Future for Local Government (FFLG) Reform, which is giving us a chance to shape a more community focused, citizen-led, local government system. And the beauty is that we can build this for ourselves. I encourage you to read the FFLG report that has just been released, at https://submissions.futureforlocalgovernment.govt.nz
Our Council will be making a submission, and you can make one too – just go to the link above and share your comments. You’ve got until 28 February next year.
Together, our Council and everyone in our communities can do some amazing stuff. In the past six weeks I’ve seen some outstanding projects, initiatives and events and being a part of this as a Council is the biggest priority. I want to thank The Informer for the opportunity to contribute a regular monthly column. If there’s something you want to know more about – get in touch: email@example.com