Chamber appeals for residents to stand for council

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Tauranga's Chamber of Commerce is urging residents to put their hands up for local government.

In a statement Chamber of Commerce chief executive Max Mason appealed for memebers of the comminty to stand in the upcoming elections.

"If you have proven skills in business, governance, or any type of leadership this message is an appeal to you to stand for Tauranga City Council in the current election, he said.

"The recent Chamber survey of members on local government is now available and shows there is a strong desire for better governance of our city."

He said there are a number of people in Tauranga's business community who had reached a stage in their lives where they had achieved success.

"They are now are looking at the bigger picture of their city and wondering how they can make a meaningful contribution on a bigger stage.

"So what is stopping them putting their hand up? The most common reason I hear is that they would have difficulty working with people they don't respect.

That's a fair point but let's look at it closer."

Mr Mason said the councillors were divided into three categories: the high performers, the middle of the roaders, and the poor performers.

"If we could retain the first two categories and replace the poor performers with some good people we would have a pretty good council, he said.

"Then decision making for our city would be based on good judgement, reasoned debate and not on silly political games."

Mr Mason said another reason "good people" didn't stand was a perception the hours were too long.

"You can do a good job on a less than full time basis," he said.

"Also there is a perception that if there are too many candidates the vote will be split. But remember if there are some outstanding candidates, there is nothing stopping the others from withdrawing before the election and letting the front runners go through.

"There is also the opportunity for like-minded candidates to form a coalition. The main thing is to get lots of good nominations in the public arena first, and then take it from there."

Mr Mason said new local government rules meant there was an "opportunities for real change this time round".

"The new Mayoral powers introduces a new dynamic with the opportunity for stronger mayoral leadership. The Local Government Reform Act means this council will need to make a huge call on our relationship with other BOP councils and how unified we will be.

"It's also a new era in terms of a new council CEO, and senior management team. The new council needs to have the capability to forge a strong working relationship with the senior staff built on the mutual respect of each others abilities."

He said the city needed councillors who understood when cost cutting was appropriate and equally when a return on investment approach was warranted.

"We need a council that is prepared to take a few risks and accept things don't always go to plan. We need staff who are more flexible and responsive to business needs, and councillors who support that independent thinking."

The nomination deadline is midday on Friday August 16.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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