The new Central Hawke's Bay District Council met for the first time yesterday afternoon at the CHB Municipal Theatre in Waipawa.

About 100 people, including the mayor and councillors' family members, friends, council staff and former councillors were in attendance at the venue, which had been shifted from the council chambers to accommodate the large numbers expected.

Maori consultative committee representative Roger Maaka gave a short welcome after which the new mayor Alex Walker and councillors were sworn in.

Ian Sharp, entering his third term in council, was confirmed as deputy mayor, continuing the role he had held for two terms, moved by David Tennent and seconded by Kelly Annand.


Addressing the meeting, Ms Walker thanked the councillors who had been at the helm for the past three years, steering the community through important issues such as rates inflation, amalgamation, the Ruataniwha dam and the initial stages of the re-development at Russell Park, Waipukurau.

She congratulated the newly elected councillors and also thanked their family and friends who would be giving up part of their lives as well to improve Central Hawke's Bay.

She said the new councillors carried the hopes of the community on their shoulders, which they had to live up to.

"The community has put an expectation on us to take nothing for granted, to throw out the rule book and start again with fresh eyes.

"As a leader I promise to always listen, to have respect for others' opinions and to always seek positive solutions to issues as we look forward to the next three years."

She also introduced some new standing orders that would remove time limits on how long councillors could speak at meetings, and also allow them to speak more than once to a motion - moves she tongue-in-cheek said she hoped she would not regret.

"Let the games begin," she concluded.

The date for the next meeting was set for Thursday, December 1 at 2pm.