After more than 40 years in the district, three terms as a councillor and three years as deputy mayor, John Scrimgeour wants the top job.
John has put his name forward to replace outgoing Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Garry Webber at October's local body elections.
He was first elected to the district council in 2013 and was named deputy mayor in 2019. This will be his first tilt at the mayoralty, something he says a lot of people in the community have encouraged him to do.
"I've gained a lot of knowledge now about council processes and interactions with other groups and other people, and I think it's a good time for me to be able to use that knowledge and the contacts that I've made to be able to take up the reins as mayor and serve the district."
He says being deputy has given him a closer understanding of the workings of council, and management of a team of councillors and of staff.
From a policy and management point of view, he would see things broadly continuing a similar path post-election.
"But from a personality point of view, I'm a different person to Garry and I've had different life experiences, so I certainly see it as an opportunity to put my stamp and do things in a slightly different way."
John says there are three big issues facing local government in New Zealand.
One is the reform of the Resource Management Act and building acts, and the impact that will have on the locality.
"Then there's a big review of local government going on. The Government has tried to make it clear that it's not an amalgamation thing, but I think inevitably there will be opportunities for amalgamation explored in that ... and rationalisation."
While he has an open mind on the long-term possibility of a merging of Tauranga City and Western Bay district councils, he does not believe now is the right time.
"I think our communities of the Western Bay would be drowned by the noise and voice of Tauranga city.:
"The third [issue] is the Three Waters reform and that's perhaps the one that's captured the most attention."
On a Western Bay level, he says catering for population growth is a major issue the district council will have to wrestle with.
In the eastern part of the district, development of the Rangiuru Business Park and the continued expansion of the kiwifruit industry, and the general attractiveness of the whole district as a place to live will all result in population increase, he says.
"I see the expansion of housing, particularly in Te Puke and the east, being a particularly big issue going forward because we don't want people travelling all over the countryside any more than we have to."
There is ongoing work in Ōmokoroa to provide more housing and "there are also opportunities in Waihī Beach and Katikati and a host of other smaller places to some degree".
While work has begun on the Bethlehem-to-Te Puna section of the Takitimu North Link, he wants to continue to pressure for it to extend north, at least to Ōmokoroa.
John highlights Te Puna Quarry Park and Te Puke's Te Ara Kahikatea pathway as good examples of the community-initiated projects he would like to see more of in the future.
John and his wife, Margaret, moved to the district in 1980 and own a dairy farm in rural Te Puke where there is some diversification into orcharding and forestry.
"Over that period of time we really feel Te Puke is our home, we've developed a business here, raised a family here and we've been involved in the community in all sorts of ways.
"I think it's all been preparation for what follows and I think the time is right for me to make this step up."