Local body elections have been and gone, leaving the Western Bay of Plenty with a mix of old and new blood among the elected members. Yesterday, the new council gathered for a swearing-in ceremony and its inaugural meeting. The event also commemorated the appointment of the region's new deputy mayor. Kiri Gillespie sat down with Western Bay mayor Garry Webber and his newly appointed deputy John Scrimgeour to find out what they plan to bring to the district, and how they are going to do it.
Seasoned councillor and farming advocate John Scrimgeour has been elected Western Bay of Plenty's new deputy mayor at the district council's inaugural meeting.
Scrimgeour will join incumbent mayor Garry Webber at the helm of the district council for the next three years.
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Both Scrimgeour and Webber were among councillors and committee members who promised to serve the region to their best ability at a swearing-in ceremony at the Western Bay's council chambers yesterday.
Wearing the mayoral chains, Webber announced and appointed Scrimgeour to the role which was met with a round of applause.
We need to work collaboratively and collectively with community from all walks of life.
Scrimgeour has already served two terms as a councillor, representing the Te Puke and Maketū area. This term as a councillor will be his third. The former dairy farmer is also known, and respected, for his former role as Bay of Plenty president of Federated Farmers.
"Obviously, I'm pretty excited and really delighted that I've been invited to fill this role," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.
"I would say that the council is in a pretty good space and things are running pretty well. But there are some opportunities, better ways of doing things."
Scrimgeour said improving community engagement was important as was behind-the-scenes things such as focusing on procurement of services, "to make sure we are getting good value for ratepayers".
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"It's something easy to lose sight of but it's fundamental."
Webber said he was impressed with Scrimgeour's expertise.
"I believe he has the respect of his colleagues and, I think, the respect of his community," Webber said.
"The main challenge we have is what is central government going to do in the freshwater space. John has some good experience dealing with Wellington, like keeping that pressure on central government to make sure that roading infrastructure is not forgotten about.
"It's about keeping the pressure on but not losing sight of the community that put us where we are, to serve them."
In his mayoral speech, Webber referred to the importance of the council representing and working for all of the district, including people of all ethnicities and cultures.
"We need to work collaboratively and collectively with community from all walks of life."
The new Western Bay of Plenty District Council elected members are Grant Dally, Mark Dean, James Denyer, Murray Grainger, Anne Henry, Christina Humphreys, Monique Lints, Kevin Marsh, Margaret Murray-Benge, John Scrimgeour and Don Thwaites.
Community boards for Maketū, Te Puke, Kaimais, Katikati and Waihī Beach were also established.