Western Bay of Plenty District Council second-in-command Gwenda Merriman decided to run for mayor to build on her previous work on council.

Mrs Merriman had served on the council for two terms.

"I am well versed in chairing council committees and in representing council across New Zealand," she said. "I have the skill set required for prudent governance and the business side of council."

Her main priorities were rates, working with other nearby councils and safe accessibility to main highways from rural roads.


"Population increase will continue to challenge our council. I am aware that we must control our rates and debt. Great strides have already been made, and I will continue that drive," Mrs Merriman said.

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"I will advance the work with neighbouring councils in shared services and joint resourcing. This initiative is already reducing council's operating costs significantly."

Mrs Merriman said the council would "prosper" with a culture of leadership, inclusiveness and compromise.

"The mayor has just one vote, so there is no room for personal agendas."

She said she would lead a council that was connected to all of the Western Bay communities, if elected.

"We are all living here because we love this place," she said.

"I am passionate about the Western Bay, and we do not want short term actions that will jeopardise our future.

"We owe it to our grandchildren to keep advancing in a controlled manner that recognises the need to create a balance between economic prosperity and our special way of life, community diversity and our natural environment."

She said she could provide "assured continuity" of communication to the Western Bay.

"My up-to-date appreciation of the demands of council, and the contacts I have fostered as Deputy Mayor, will be crucial."

Mrs Merriman's ideal deputy would be a councillor who "understands the heavy workload and can appreciate the aspirations and needs of all our communities".