The musical chairs at Northland’s environmental council continue.
Last week Tui Shortland resigned from her role as Northland Regional Council chairwoman, which she had held for 13 months.
Shortland’s resignation took effect today and the new chairman Geoff Crawford was officially sworn.
But in a bizarre twist, Shortland was named as Crawford’s deputy after Jack Craw was kicked out of the deputy chair role.
The change in chair and deputy chair were among a number of portfolio switches across the council’s nine-strong governance structure today, Crawford acknowledging the contributions of the outgoing chair and deputy chair, both of whom he thanked for their service.
Crawford said yesterday’s changes - most of which passed by a margin of five votes to four - are part of the democratic process and he would work with staff to support councillors as they collectively transition into new leadership.
Voting for change were Crawford, Cr Shortland and councillors John Blackwell, Joe Carr and Peter-Lucas Jones. Voting against were Crs Craw, Amy Macdonald, Marty Robinson and Rick Stolwerk.
“I acknowledge leadership changes can be an unsettling time for our council as a whole,” Crawford said.
He said Northland had a passionate council that he wanted to collectively rally “to inspire collaborative efforts towards a shared and prosperous future for the region”.
“I’ll be working hard to ensure our organisation’s work, partnerships and commitments run as smoothly as possible - from both governance and operational perspectives - as we go through this process.”
The group of councillors, the council’s ongoing projects and plans for the future remained steadfast. Shortland said although her recent time on the council had been challenging, today’s changes were “an integral part of our growth and commitment to effective governance”.
The meeting also brought the creation of a new Infrastructure Standing Committee, the membership of which had yet to be decided.
Councillors also agreed in principle to merge the council’s existing Audit and Risk Sub-Committee and Investment and Property Sub-Committee within three months. (Membership of the new single entity will be reviewed as part of the process.)
Other changes today include:
- Cr Shortland (who remains an elected councillor for Te Raki Māori constituency) replacing Cr Robinson (who represents the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa general constituency) as co-chair of the Te Taitokerau Māori and Council Working Party
- Cr Blackwell (who represents the Kaipara general constituency) replacing Cr Macdonald (who represents the Coastal Central General constituency) as NRC’s representative on the Joint Climate Change Adaptation Committee
- Cr Blackwell replacing Cr Robinson as a member of the Natural Resources Working Party
- Cr Shortland replacing Cr Macdonald as chairman on the Natural Resources Working Party
- Chairman Crawford replacing Cr Craw as NRC’s alternate representative on the Climate Change Adaptation Committee
- Chairman Crawford replacing Cr Stolwerk (who represents the Coastal South general constituency) as the NRC representative on the Northland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group
- Chairman Crawford replacing Cr Robinson as the NRC representative on the Joint Regional Economic Development Committee
- Cr Shortland replacing Cr Craw as NRC’s alternate representative on the Northland Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group
- Cr Carr (who represents the Far North general constituency) replacing Cr Craw as a member of the Biosecurity and Biodiversity Working Party
Councillors also voted to review the current councillor remuneration package with a view to agreeing on an improved remuneration structure and package at the February 27, 2024 council meeting.