Two-term Mayor of Waipā, Jim Mylchreest, has announced he will seek re-election for a third term.

"My wife Robyn and I have both spent a large proportion of our lives living, working, raising our five children and serving on a number of voluntary organisations in the Waipā," says Jim.

"We have strong affiliations to the community we love."

Jim says that is why he is seeking a third term in the district's highest office where he believes he can help deliver the best outcomes.

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Helen Clark chats to Waipā major Jim Mylchreest at Pirongia Forest Park Lodge 30th celebrations in October 2018. Photo / Bethany Rolston
Helen Clark chats to Waipā major Jim Mylchreest at Pirongia Forest Park Lodge 30th celebrations in October 2018. Photo / Bethany Rolston

He has a Masters in Public Policy and more than three decades of local government experience in various roles in Waipā, including senior management positions and for the past six years as Mayor.

"The Mayoralty is in my view the highest honour the community can bestow on anyone and a position I take extremely seriously," he says.

Jim says one of the challenges of local body government is the perception that nothing happens.

"I disagree, but concede it takes time to see progress," he says.

"That is a good message to anyone seeking office.

"It is an important and rewarding role, and people can make a difference, but patience is required."

The Te Awamutu Boxing Academy head coach Chris Graham (left) with brother Billy Graham (right) and Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest at an interest night about the academy in April. Photo / Supplied
The Te Awamutu Boxing Academy head coach Chris Graham (left) with brother Billy Graham (right) and Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest at an interest night about the academy in April. Photo / Supplied

Jim believes all local body politicians need to commit to two terms so they can learn the role and start to see progress.

Part of his goal in seeking a third term is to continue the work he has been doing for the past six years and to see Waipā progress even further in the future.

Jim believes for the last six to 10 years Waipā has experienced astronomical growth, unprecedented in its history.

Waipā Mayor Jim Mylchreest is seeking re-election to the head of the Council table for a third term. Photo / Dean Taylor
Waipā Mayor Jim Mylchreest is seeking re-election to the head of the Council table for a third term. Photo / Dean Taylor

"Our population rose by over 1000 last year and there were 1200 new jobs created in Waipā," he says.

"That puts pressure on a Council, but also presents opportunities."

He is proud to be leading a Council which has delivered a 10-Year-Plan with a huge commitment to major infrastructure upgrades, while maintaining an average 2.4 per cent annual rate increase.

He says while some of the spend is funded by the growth, it is still a difficult balancing act for Council to provide great infrastructure, amenities and quality of life and to be affordable.

Jim believes Waipā is a great place for people to live.

"Unemployment is just 2.4 per cent and relatively speaking we are an affluent community," he says.

"That isn't to say we can't do better in some areas, such as affordable housing, and that we can't neglect those who need more help."

Jim believes New Zealand's 'knee-jerk' mentality isn't helping, especially when it comes to affordable living.

He says while events such as the Christchurch earthquake and Havelock North's water contamination are devastating, Central Government's proclivity to fix the problem by hurriedly passing legislation for the whole of New Zealand means more compliance costs to be passed on to the public.

He believes 25 per cent of the cost of new homes is for compliance, so he believes it is important for Councils to 'push back' where appropriate.

"For example, the earthquake threat for Waipā is low, yet much is being spent retrospectively to meet the new standards," he says.

"In terms of averting death or injury it makes sense to spend that money elsewhere."

Jim also believes Waipā is generally positive — and that is reflected in the growth, business confidence and even around the Council table.

He says as Mayor he has just one vote like the Councillors, but respects that generally the team he has lead has been professional, respectful and committed to doing the best for the community.

He says that doesn't mean they don't have robust discussions and lengthy debates.
"We do and it helps us make good decisions.

"It shows in communities where Councillors are negative and cannot work together with their Mayor," he says.

"Those districts and cities aren't as progressive and attractive for business and residents."

He says an indication of Waipā's strengths are the strides made on the Te Awamutu Hub concept — something that will be good for the town and good for the wellbeing of the population.

"It's a great place to live and can only get better and I would be proud to be Mayor for another three years."