The men and women elected to serve Thames-Coromandel District were sworn in at an inaugural council meeting last week, with the advice of a former Prime Minister.
"Every day that you are the mayor, a councillor or community board member is a day closer to not being the mayor, a councillor or community board member."
The advice was delivered by Coromandel MP Scott Simpson to the successful candidates for Thames-Coromandel District Council's recent elections. They were words that Simpson himself received from John Key.
"When your time has passed, you won't be able to do those things you made commitments to, to the people who voted for you, and to do what you said you would," he added.
"There will be things you won't be able to do, but make the most of the full life. That means attending community events, being immersed in all that is going on in our wider community — and make every day count."
Three of the elected members recited their oath completely in Te Reo Maori, albeit off a sheet of notes, and there were three who were absent, including South Eastern ward councillor Terry Walker, Thames councillor Strat Peters and Deli Connell from Mercury Bay
Community Board - to be sworn in at their next meeting.
The South Eastern Ward extends from Whangamata to Tairua while the Mercury Bay Ward covers from Hot Water Beach north to Whangapoua.
The area includes thousands of bach-owners who must register to get a vote, and receive one vote irrespective of how many properties owned in the district.
Returning Mayor Sandra Goudie thanked Ngāti Maru kaumātua Wate Ngamane for his blessing at the swearing in and welcomed the newly elected team.
"Thank you for the sacrifice you will make for the next three years and to friends and family as well.
"I'd like to thank all of those that stood, because that's what keeps our democracy healthy."
A total of 13,099 people exercised their democratic right to vote for the people they want to represent them in local government decisions, out of the 23,967 who were enrolled to vote in the elections last month.
Despite 10,000 votes unaccounted for, the 2019 election was the highest turnout since 2010 when 61.2 per cent voted in Thames-Coromandel District. In neighbouring Hauraki District the turnout this year was 48.77 per cent.
Every vote counted for Robyn Sinclair, who, with two votes, remains the Thames Ward's third councillor after a vote recount requested by fourth-placed candidate Alison Choppin.
Goudie receives $120,000 annually for her role and councillors an average $38,400. Thames-Coromandel District Council's top earning staff member, chief executive Rob Williams, is on $345,835 and 37 senior staff earn over $100,000 per year. There are 219 staff at TCDC.
In neighbouring Hauraki District, Mayor Toby Adams will receive $91,000 and of the 119 staff, 26 earn more than $100,000 with the chief executive on $299,000 and councillors earning $23,220 according to figures on Ratepayers Report NZ.
Elected members will undergo a raft of training including "media" training and two full-day sessions to introduce new members to the workings of local government.
These include the rules on conflicts of interest and bias, meeting procedures, their
role with health and safety and the council's code of conduct.
Due to conflict of interest rules, it will be a loss for some organisations with the election of Dave Ryan on to Whangamatā Community Board, since he has had to step down from chairing the Whangamatā Menz Shed and Community Patrol.
A briefing was held on the council's recent Annual Report which was adopted at Thursday's meeting.
MAKING THE MOST OF ELECTED MEMBERS
South Eastern Ward Councillors
Terry Walker and Gary Gotlieb are your councillors for the South Eastern Ward, which includes the townships of Whangamatā, Pāuanui, Tairua and all other settlements in between. They are the elected members for ratepayers and residents of these areas, along with Mayor Sandra Goudie, when decisions are made by the full council.
Whangamatā Community Board
Dave Ryan, Kay Baker, Ken Coulam, Tamzin Letele are your community board members, for issues related to Whangamatā ward covering Ōpoutere and Ōnemana.
Tairua-Pāuanui Community Board
Warwick Brooks, Barry Swindles, Anne Stewart-Ball and Chris New are your community board members, for issues in Tairua, Pāuanui and Hikuai.
Mercury Bay Community Board
Rekha Giri-Percival, Jeremy Lomas, Deli Connell and Bill McLean cover the east coast beaches, Whitianga and north to Whangapoua for the Mercury Bay board.
Public forums at the start of an ordinary meeting — usually for about 30 minutes — are put aside for the purpose of public input. Public forums are designed to enable anyone to bring matters, not necessarily on the meeting's agenda, to the attention of the local authority and each speaker can talk for up to five minutes. No debate or decisions will be made at the meeting on issues raised during the forum unless related to items already on the agenda.
The purpose of a deputation is to enable a person, group or organisation to make a presentation to a meeting on a matter or matters covered by that meeting's terms of reference.
Deputations should be approved by the chairperson, or an official with delegated authority, five working days before the meeting.
Contacts, meeting agendas and dates are at www.tcdc.govt.nz/yourcouncil