Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell has chosen former MP Larry Baldock as his deputy mayor.
Baldock, 65, is a Pyes Pa ward councillor who has, on and off, served two-and-a-half terms on the Tauranga City Council. In the term just gone he chaired the Urban Form and Transport Development committee.
He will be a surprise choice to some given Powell's comments during the campaign that he would like to chose a young, female deputy.
Three women were elected to the new council - Heidi Hughes, Tina Salisbury and Dawn Kiddie - all of them for the first time.
Powell said they did not yet have the governance experience for the deputy position.
"Given the dynamics of the elected members I believe we need someone who already understands local government legislation, and who will bring that level of experienced leadership."
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Powell said in the future, he would like to chose a woman deputy. In the meantime, he hoped to give Hughes, Kiddie and Salisbury leadership opportinities.
"I would think we would put them into leadership roles as deputy chairs of various committees to ensure they do develop that leadership skillset around governance very quickly."
Powell said he picked Baldock for his central and local government experience, his understanding of the Local Government Act and the council's standing orders and code of conduct and his "wise and calm head".
Powell has not served on a council before but has had leadership roles in central government affiliated groups.
He said he and Baldock were quite different people and did not agree on everything, but would be an effective team.
Baldock had good relationships with most councillors, though Powell acknowledged "one or two will struggle with Larry".
"He understands the Local Government Act, which I think is going to be very important, going forward - not to make too fine a point of it."
The council, due to be sworn in tomorrow , has already become embroiled in a scandal, with calls for new councillor Andrew Hollis to resign over his controversial Treaty of Waitangi comments.
Powell said yesterday Hollis should resign, and if he stayed as a councillor he would be, in Powell's view, conflicted from participating in Treaty or iwi-related decisions.
Hollis said he would not resign and did not have a conflict.
Baldock said he was "thrilled" to serve as deputy but admitted he had been a bit reluctant when first asked.
His reticence was in part due to his friendship with councillor Kelvin Clout, who served as deputy to the last two mayors and had said he was available to do so again.
"I didn't pursure the role."
He said he backed Powell's vision for the city "something the city hasn't had in a long time".
Baldock courted controversy during the election, helping with two newspaper ads that targeted some of his council colleagues, who hit back.
He said all councillors would need to put the election behind them and move on for the benefit of the of the city, which faced huge challenges.
"I will do my best to bring about unity."
Baldock was first elected to the council in 2001 but left after a year to become a United First list MP.
He was not re-elected in 2005 but stayed in the national spotlight as a key opponent of the anti-smacking law.
He was elected to Tauranga City Council again in 2010, missed out in 2013 and was returned in 2016, for a total of seven years council service.
Baldock grew up in Tauranga. He spent 15 years in the Phillipines, moving back to Tauranga in 1996. He is a Christian and is married to Barbara.
Clout said it would be a transition for him to no longer be deputy mayor after six years, but he felt he had done the job well and would continue working hard for the city.
- The new Tauranga City Council will be sworn in tomorrow in the council chambers at 91 Willow St. The ceremony will run from 1pm to 3pm and the public are invited. It will also be streamed on the council's website.