Former chamber CEO willing to step up to councillor's job

Former Chamber of Commerce CEO and Hawke's Bay Today business columnist Murray Douglas may be appointed to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

Eileen von Dadelszen resigned as a councillor for the Hastings constituency to take up a role with the Environment Court, creating a vacancy to which the council could choose to appoint a new councillor.

Traditionally the appointment goes to the highest polling unsuccessful candidate in the last election in that constituency - Mr Douglas.

He said he had been informally sounded out by the council and would accept the appointment, if the council chose to offer it to him.

The matter is on the agenda for tomorrow's Council meeting, at where the council may decide to make no replacement appointment until the local government elections.

The next elections are on October 12, giving no option to hold a by-election.

Mr Douglas said he would be happy "whichever way the Council decides".

He said one advantage of appointing him would be he could "come up to speed quickly" because of his ongoing involvement in Hawke's Bay issues and "hit the ground running".

He stepped down from his dual CEO roles at the Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce and economic development agency Business Hawke's Bay. Two CEOs will replace him, with the Business Hawke's Bay role still vacant.

His decision to step down was because of the growing demands of his business Te Mata Figs.

He said whether he would he contest the upcoming elections was "a set of decisions not yet made".

"This situation will accentuate my focus. There are things I stood for that I still believe in - council efficiency, water, economic development."

Mr Douglas has served as CEO of the Waikato Regional Council, and later headed Dunedin City Holdings which included forestry, electricity lines, a hydro-electric dam, contracting company, bus company, a half share in the airport and Taieri Gorge Railway. In Australia he had CEO roles in Victoria and the City of Sydney.

He moved to Hawke's Bay to become an orchardist.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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