New Council Gets Down to Business
The election results are in, so what now for our Tararua District councillors – especially the three new members?
51.44 per cent of eligible voters in the district took the time to consider their choices for those to represent us, down from 53.46 per cent in 2016.
Processes for the new Council term began on Tuesday, October 15, with Richard Taylor, Council’s Governance Manager, meeting with re-elected district mayor Tracey Collis, to discuss induction details and set Thursday October 31st as the first council meeting where councillors and the Mayor will be sworn in.
“At that meeting we will go through legislation and standing orders and councillors obligations,” Taylor said. Mayor Collis has to decide if she will announce the appointment of deputy mayor at that meeting.
“The first order of business for council will be to adopt the annual report which needs to be done by October 31,” Taylor said.
“The Mayor and Councillors will receive background information and meet with Council’s management team and key staff.”
New councillors will be encouraged to attend induction training, through Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) in Palmerston North on Monday, November 11.
Significant support, including governance training and guidance through LGNZ’s EquiP professional development programme, is provided for newly elected members and ensures a consistent level of capability across the sector.
One of the most significant issues our district councillors will need to get their heads around is Council’s submission to the Government’s proposed Freshwater Management legislation.
“We’ve a very tight submission timeframe, but this legislation has a major impact on our community and our residents,” Taylor said. “This is something we are aware needs to be front-footed by this council. We need to discuss this with new councillors and get them up to speed.
“The Mayor will also be sitting down with councillors to discuss their aspirations and knowledge they bring to the Council table,” Taylor said. “We encourage councillors to set out what they want to achieve, how they work with each other, guided by the Code of Conduct and their milestones. The Mayor will then allocate councillors to standing committee and portfolios.
“Councillors will need to come to grips with their Council iPads, with training on those and next year there’s the possibility of a tour of the district,” he said. “We’re proposing to organise a Council expo, but unlike previously rather than one big day, we’re looking to break this down into smaller sessions, with separate events set aside for Tararua Alliance and Council infrastructure.”
However, despite all the necessary information, Taylor said it’s important not to overload new councillors.
“We have talked with outgoing councillors and found what was valuable for them,” he said. “There is only so much we can do before the end of the year. Then in late January we will be working on Council’s annual plan for 2021.”