Anna is a reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Teamwork, transparency, top of the list for Graeme Purches

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Former Trustpower community relations manager Graeme Purches is running for the Tauranga City Council mayoralty. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER
Former Trustpower community relations manager Graeme Purches is running for the Tauranga City Council mayoralty. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER

Teamwork, transparency, and the creation of co-deputy mayors are among the changes former Trustpower community relations manager Graeme Purches says he will bring to Tauranga City Council as mayor.

"I am not doing it because I want a job, need the money, or I am ambitious. I am doing it because I love Tauranga, and I believe I can make a real difference."

He said the current council had not done a bad job but, in his opinion, it could have done better.

"I'd love to drive change, and to do that I need the support of the people.

"Tauranga needs strong decisive leadership, much more open and transparent communication and community engagement and much better representation. I have proven experience in all of those areas," he said.

Mr Purches said, "sorting out the council's external communication and engagement, building the new elected council representatives into a cohesive team that can work together effectively, and improving communication between staff and the elected team," were his main priorities for the city.

"We need to invest in basics, like roading and stormwater, but we also need to grow our city to what it should be."

He said he would like to set a longer-term vision with the community.

"Once that is done, there should be less division and more progress."

Mr Purches' campaign strategy was about "openness and transparency".

"I wear my heart on my sleeve, so what you see is what you get.''

He had been running a Facebook page "about council and the people it represents working together for a change".

"It is really difficult to change people's attitudes but I have found that if you sit down and talk things through in a logical way, often you can change their behaviour. You end up drinking quite a lot of coffee though," Mr Purches said.

He said his campaign budget was "minuscule".

"I am frugal with my money and that trait has followed me all my life, through all of my career, and will follow me to council."

"I want to meet and talk to people, online or on the phone if necessary, but directly. That reflects my relationship approach to community engagement," he said.

Mr Purches said if elected, he would implement co-deputy positions which he would want to go to one woman and one younger man.

"To give both gender and age diversity."

Mr Purches said he had worked with 66 mayors from around New Zealand in the last 17-years.

"I have carefully observed different approaches and noted what works and what does not," he said.

He said he had a "good grip" on topics such as Annual and Long Term Plans, Local Government Official Information Act obligations, and a host of other things.

He said he had presented submission for a range of topics like waste management and the Civic Heart Projects.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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