A former National MP, two town planners and an infrastructure sector leader have been appointed to lead the troubled Tauranga City Council.
Former long-serving East Coast MP Anne Tolley will chair the four-strong commission, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said yesterday afternoon.
Tolley will be joined by Bill Wasley, Shadrach Rolleston and Stephen Selwood.
Their term will begin on Tuesday, February 9, and end after the next local body elections in 2022, although this could be extended.
Tolley could not be reached for comment yesterday but said in a statement she was pleased to be appointed chair of the commission.
"As New Zealand's fifth-largest city, it is important that Tauranga is governed effectively. This will be a big challenge for the commission.
"I am looking forward to working with the other commissioners and the people of Tauranga to address the council's problems and return the city to full local democracy as soon as possible."
The 67-year-old, from Ōhope in the eastern Bay of Plenty, chose not to stand in the last election after 34 years in politics.
Tolley first entered Parliament in 1999 as a Napier-based list MP, and again as the East Coast MP from 2005 after a three-year stint in the private sector from 2002-2005.
She kept the East Coast seat for National for five terms and held nine ministerial portfolios including police, social development, education and children.
Wasley and Rolleston are Tauranga locals and each described their profession as "town planner".
Both will also be resigning roles on Smartgrowth - a sub-regional organisation focused on growth and made up of councils, iwi and other authorities in the Western Bay - to join the commission.
Wasley has been the independent chairman of Smartgrowth since its inception in 2000 and Rolleston is the Tu Pakari advisor for the organisation.
Wasley told the Bay of Plenty Times he was pleased to be a part of the team of commissioners and to be moving forward under the terms of reference set by the minister.
The 64-year-old said he had lived in Tauranga since 1985.
Rolleston said he was looking forward to the next 18 months of working to "get the city back on track" and rebuilding public confidence in the council.
He said his strengths included strategic planning and relationship management, particularly with iwi.
Tauranga-born and a resident of the city for the past 15 years, he has whakapapa to the three iwi of Tauranga Moana - Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Pūkenga - as well as broader affiliations to Te Arawa.
Selwood said he was "pleased to have the opportunity to serve the constituents of Tauranga".
The 64-year-old Aucklander is a professional director currently serving as director of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission and Rapt Ltd, a family-owned retail and online business and infrastructure advisory service.
He was previously the founding chief executive of Infrastructure New Zealand and served in the role for 14 years.
According to the terms of reference for the commission, it will perform all the duties and functions of the council and exercise its powers.
The terms anticipated Tolley would work three to four days a week through to June, with the other three working two to three days a week. From June the workload was "likely to reduce to one or two days per week for the duration of the commission".
The role of the commission included finding a way to engage with "the community, iwi, elected representatives and other stakeholders to rebuild confidence and trust in the council" and delivering a "robust and fit-for-purpose 2021-31 Long-term plan that adequately prioritises the needs of the community, city and region".
It also required the commissioners to report back to the minister every three months on their progress and developing an "exit plan" to transition back to an elected council.
Mahuta said in a statement yesterday that the commission was "necessary to put Tauranga in a stronger position for the future".
"The council is facing substantial infrastructure and funding challenges that need to be addressed in its 2021-31 Long-term Plan."
She said her decision to appoint four commissioners struck "the right balance between the significant decisions that need to be made and the important task ahead in rebuilding the relationship between the council and the Tauranga community".
Her December decision to appoint a commission followed an independent report that found significant governance issues in the council.
Three of Tauranga's 11 elected members have resigned so far this term, including first-term mayor Tenby Powell.
This was only the fourth time a Government had replaced a council with an appointed commission, and the move had been criticised by some including some of the elected members who had lost their jobs.
Tauranga City Council also issued a statement welcoming the appointments. Acting chief executive Christine Jones said the council's executive team had prepared a "comprehensive" briefing paper for the commissioners.
Recent role: MP for East Coast, 2005-2020
Lives in: Ōhope
Profession: Town planner
Recent role: Independent chairman of Smartgrowth
Lives in: Tauranga
Profession: Town planner
Recent role: Tu Pakari advisor for Smartgrowth
Lives in: Tauranga
Profession: Professional director
Recent role: Director NZ Infrastructure Commission
Lives in: Auckland