A toss of a coin to appoint the Chair of the new Whangamata Community Board was "not really acceptable", says a TCDC Councillor.

South Eastern Ward councillor Gary Gotlieb - voted to represent the towns of Tairua, Pauanui and Whangamatā - is dissatisfied with the chairmanship election process in Whangamatā.

Ken Coulam was named Chair of the Whangamatā Community Board at its inaugural meeting on Tuesday after a coin toss when the vote was split between Coulam and Dave Ryan.

Ryan was the highest polling candidate in the October local body elections for Whangamatā Community Board, with 1252 votes, followed by Ken Coulam on 1181, Kay Baker on 1050 and Tamzin Letele on 914 votes.


The board's elected members, which include South Eastern Ward councillors Gary Gotlieb and Terry Walker, were asked to vote for a Chair and the vote was split.

A decision was made to toss a coin for the chairmanship.

"In my support of Dave Ryan for Chair, I think that it is clear that this was going to be a split vote and to have the toss of a coin was not really an acceptable way to appoint the Chair.

"Clearly the voting showed dissatisfaction as to how the Community Board functioned in the last three years. The honourable way to select the Chair is the person who received the highest votes.

"To me it seems a nonsense when someone polled higher."

Ken Coulam said he was prepared for the toss to go either way.

"That was the process that was outlined in terms of Council rules. Whichever way it went, I would've gone along with the outcome."

In Tairua-Pāuanui, Warwick Brooks was voted as Chair at an inaugural meeting on Monday last week.


South Eastern Ward councillor Gary Gotlieb will not attend these community board meetings and Terry Walker will instead, however Gotlieb says he would attend meetings depending on what the issues are.

"I raised at the meeting at the first Council gathering the question why were councillors appointed to community boards. They could attend and speak but why vote? Other Councils don't adopt this procedure.

"This initially received favourable reception but the two councillors from Mercury Bay ward wouldn't have a bar of it.

"Our ward has two boards and it was decided that I would be on Whangamatā and that Terry would attend Tairua-Pāuanui.

"At the next council meeting the Mayor unilaterally changed that to have Terry on both and wouldn't allow any debate on this."

He said he was still available to people and his best contact was directly by email.

"I can ring and talk to them. If it's something I think is of major importance then certainly, that's what my role is. Conversely I would go to Colville and other community board areas.

"What people don't realise is with great reluctance I stood for council because I have time restraints. And when there are important issues I do what I can for the area that I was elected from, but I was elected to represent the whole area."