For first-time Napier city councillor Richard McGrath, taking on the role was pretty well a case of "in at the deep end".

He took his place on council two years ago after a by-election was staged in the wake of Rob Lutter leaving council - and he triumphed over the other eight candidates.

"It was challenging, as coming in mid-way through meant I didn't get to go through the inauguration process the others went through together - and the amalgamation issue was going on so yes, it was pretty challenging but I like a challenge, absolutely," Mr McGrath said.

The basic core of the task was "all about problem solving" and he had enjoyed working alongside what he described as a "very cohesive" council: "We've all worked in well together."


The backgrounds of his council colleagues covered a broad spectrum. There was him with a nursing background, an accountant, builders, sports administrators - "quite a line-up".

As a first-term councillor he knocked on thousands of doors to introduce himself and find out what mattered most to people. The major issues were job creation, Westshore Beach, resolving freedom-camping issues and building a better swimming pool. He also got a good vibe - people were pretty comfortable with their city and the way it was working.

"It has been good to be part of a cohesive council achieving positive results, like the cycleways and the sea murals project, and I look forward to following through with the Marine Parade and Anderson Park upgrades." Both would give the city added spark.

He said it was important to attract businesses to the city and part of that equation was ensuring there were things here for the families of those who arrived to start something off.

Part of that was the creation of a better community swimming pool complex. He would continue to pursue that and job creation.

"It's about continuing to grow Napier and it's about implementing the REDS (Regional Economic Development Strategy), not just leaving it as a piece of paper in a drawer.

"Councils will have to have a more open-mind approach."

Mr McGrath said putting in a lot of time was not an issue: he and partner Kathleen made a family decision that he would get their two young boys off to school and organise the sports coaching.

"It all works well."