Long road for Horowhenua mayor

By Tanya Wood

Horowhenua District Mayor Michael, left, with Miranui councillor and deupty mayor Ross Campbell at Tuesday's swearing in of the new council at Te Takere.
Horowhenua District Mayor Michael, left, with Miranui councillor and deupty mayor Ross Campbell at Tuesday's swearing in of the new council at Te Takere.

Horowhenua District mayor Michael Feyen started his first official speech with a greeting and introduction in Maori, Dutch and English at Tuesday night's swearing in of elected councillors and Foxton Community Board members at Te Takere.

A first-generation New Zealander of Dutch parents, he said it had been a long road getting here.

"Thank you...to everyone here and voting me in as the new mayor of Horowhenua, to all iwi and hapu, tangata whenua and leaders thank you... you have given me the mandate to involve iwi in the district's success.

"Likewise all other cultures here tonight who in a great leap of faith voted me for mayor. We will work together on this exciting venture...achievement through cooperation. I won't let you down."

He acknowledged the "going won't be easy" and would concentrate on effective governance committed to tackling Lake Horowhenua, the Levin landfill clean up, returning the Foxton River loop flow, supplying good clean drinking water particularly to Foxton, and ensuring vital infrastructure repairs were done (water and wastewater).

"Our goal is to bring spending under control.
"Above all, our clear mandate is to bring unity to all sectors of the community. I don't want to walk in someone else's moccasins, I want to walk with you on our journey together, with mutual exchange of ideas and values to achieve positive outcomes."

Mayor Feyen thanked a number of people for their support including Ross Campbell, a "great ally and confidante", his son and daughters, fiancée Amba Wright and fellow candidates.

"I look forward to working with the team of councillors. If any differences arise I don't want us to bury them, I want us to settle them amicably, professionally with respect and grace to the benefit of this district."

He also looked forward to meeting council staff and working with chief executive David Clapperton, saying he expected Mr Clapperton's expertise will be immensely valuable in coming weeks "and we can establish a positive working relationship from what will be a very different working environment".

Newly appointed deputy mayor Ross Campbell paid tribute to the many people who had supported him and said the last three years as Miranui ward councillor were some of the most exciting, rewarding and challenging times of his life, and he was looking forward to the next three.

The new Horowhenua District councillors are Wayne Bishop, Ross Brannigan, Ross Campbell, Neville Gimblett, Barry Judd, Victoria Kaye-Simmons, Jo Mason, Christine Mitchell, Piri-Hira Tukapua, Bernie Wanden.

The date and time of the first Horowhenua District Council meeting of the new triennium was confirmed as Wednesday November 2, 4pm, to be held in council chambers. Mayor Feyen told Horowhenua Chronicle afterwards that despite his well-known reservations about the safety of the council building he had worked a way forward with chief executive David Clapperton.

"I've acknowledged that a lot of staff work there and I feel like a captain of a ship. There are ongoing discussions about the ship and things will happen in a positive frame."

Mayor Feyen also appointed Kere Kere ward councillors Neville Gimblett and Ross Brannigan as council representatives with voting rights at the Foxton Community Board.

Gimblett will take the role for the first 18 months from October 26 2016 to June 25, 2018, and Brannigan from January 28, 2018 to October 15, 2019.

Foxton Community Board members voted David Roache as chairperson and Tricia Metcalf as deputy chairperson.

The first Foxton Community Board meeting of the new triennium was confirmed for Monday November 21, 6.30pm, at Manawatu College.

Community board members also include David Allan, John Girling and Jenny Lundie.

- Horowhenua Chronicle

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