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Structure reflects ‘challenges and opportunities’

Hamilton City Council Mayor-Elect Paula Southgate has proposed a new Council meeting structure reflecting the growth challenges and opportunities facing the city.

Under the Local Government Act the Mayor appoints the Deputy Mayor, Committee Structure and Committee Chairs.

Mayor-Elect Southgate, to be officially sworn in on Thursday (24 October), will take her proposal to the first full Council meeting, scheduled for 28 November.

At that meeting, Mayor-Elect Southgate will formally propose her Deputy Mayor be second-term Councillor Geoff Taylor. Mr Taylor will also chair a CBD/River Plan Working Group and will be charged with a number of other roles.

“Geoff and I don’t necessarily have to agree on everything. But we share the same vision for Hamilton and we both have very high expectations of this Council and what it must achieve over the next three years. We are a strong team leading a strong Council.”

Mayor-Elect Southgate will propose four main Committees:
Finance: Chair Rob Pascoe, Deputy Chair Maxine van Oosten
Strategic Growth: Chair Dave Macpherson, Deputy Chair Ryan Hamilton
Infrastructure Operations: Chair Angela O’Leary, Deputy Chair Martin Gallagher
Community: Chair Mark Bunting, Deputy Chair Kesh Naidoo-Rauf

“Our city is facing enormous growth and we need to be agile so we can leverage our advantages and capture opportunities in terms of funding and partnerships,” she says.

“I want a very strong focus on getting that growth and balance right, hence my decision to split out strategic growth issues from infrastructure. We have experienced leaders in this space able to hit the ground running.”

Two further special Committees will also be proposed. An Environment Response Committee (Chair Margaret Forsyth, Deputy Chair Sarah Thomson) will be charged with setting the Council’s policy levers in respect to environmental issues, including climate change.

A proposed Economic Development Committee (Chair Ryan Hamilton, Deputy Chair Ewan Wilson) responded to requests from the business community for the council to be more effective and efficient in enabling business and driving economic activity in the city, Mayor-Elect Southgate says.

Both special Committees will meet quarterly and will report to full Council.

The proposed structure retains a Hearings and Engagement Committee (Chair Martin Gallagher, Deputy Chair Angela O’Leary) and a Risk and Audit Committee to be chaired independently.

No Council sub-committees are proposed. Mayor-Elect Southgate says no changes to the Council’s Maangai Maaori arrangements are proposed with details to be discussed at the November Council meeting.

Mayor-Elect Southgate says her proposal reflects what is best for the city. While she had had conversations with all elected members, the final proposed structure was hers.

“We have one job to do and that’s to do what’s best for Hamilton – it’s really that simple,” she says.

“We have some very experienced elected members around the table and yes, we will maximise that. But we also have some very passionate emerging leaders with a lot to offer and it’s important they can and do fully contribute,” she says.

“For example, I would like Sarah Thomson to work specifically on issues around Hamilton public transport. And I have asked Martin Gallagher, as one of our most experienced Councillors, to oversee development and training and to mentor new Councillors so they get up to speed as quickly as possible.”

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