"The tide went in, brought him in; the tide went out, took him out; and now the tide has brought him in again."

So said Huikakahu Kawe as he gave a karakia at yesterday morning's swearing-in ceremony for newly-elected Tauranga City councillor John Robson.

Robson was elected with a 630-vote margin in a byelection held during April to fill the seat left vacant by Gail McIntosh's death in January.

He previously served one term on the council from 2013 to 2016 but was not re-elected in 2016.

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"Gidday boss," Robson said as mayor Greg Brownless greeted him at the beginning of yesterday morning's extraordinary council meeting.

Huikakahu Kawe as he gave a karakia at the swearing in ceremony for John Robson. Photo / George Novak
Huikakahu Kawe as he gave a karakia at the swearing in ceremony for John Robson. Photo / George Novak

After giving the traditional vow to do his best for the city, Robson used his time at the podium to take a few swipes at some of his new colleagues, particularly councillors Max Mason and deputy mayor Kelvin Clout.

"Without their positions on the draft Long-Term Plan, I could have stayed home in bed," Robson said of the pair.

"I look forward to working with you over next few weeks to bring real change to that Long-Term Plan."

Asked if he wanted to respond after the meeting Mason said only: "Game on".

Clout said the Long-Term Plan was going to have to change regardless of Robson's input.

"We recognise we have to bring those rates increases down."

Robson also commented on councillors Larry Baldock and Terry Molloy, saying he had not been able to find any promises they could be held to from the last election, and thanked councillors Steve Morris and Rick Curach for their support for his candidacy.

In his mayoral address, Greg Brownless said the meeting was about acknowledging Robson's success.

"It is both an exciting and a challenging time for John to be joining - or should I say rejoining - the council as we begin hearings on our Long-Term Plan."

He said it was important for councillors to go into the hearings with an open mind.

Brownless noted the low voter turnout for the byelection but said there was no point "handwringing" over it.

"Whether people avail themselves of that opportunity [to vote] is up to them."