Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby is looking forward to his third term and promising a more cohesive approach from the new council.
There are three changes to the Tauranga City Council with the new faces of Larry Baldock, Terry Molloy and Tony Christiansen.
Missing from the previous council are Mike Baker and Hayden Evans. Greg Brownless did not stand for re-election.
Larry and Terry both have previous council experience, and Stuart says he’s personally known Tony for more than 20 years.
“He’ll bring a new dimension, and a lot of enthusiasm and passion, that’s the way Tony operates,” says Stuart.
“The commitment I have with regard to the new council is to build a more cohesive group of councillors.
“A very clear message from the election campaign was the electorate wants a more cohesive group of councillors. That doesn’t mean we have to always agree but they expect a higher standard of behaviour, and so I’m personally totally committed to focus on that.”
For Stuart personally, the election result is “humbling”. He’s been returned with 17,566 votes, 13,054 clear of the next highest polling mayoral candidate, Murray Guy.
There are new mayors in Auckland, Hamilton, and Dunedin and Wellington’s mayor Kerry Prendergast is teetering on a 40 vote knife edge, awaiting the special votes count.
“I’m quite humbled by that support, but at the end of the day you can lose that support quite quickly if you say and do the wrong things,” says Stuart.
With 24 years experience in local body politics, he says that’s unlikely.
“The second term was difficult. I’m looking forward to this term. I spoke to all the councillors on Saturday to emphasise the point of being a more cohesive unit. That’s talking about the politics of it, there’s still all the usual day-to-day stuff.
“We have got some big challenges ahead and one of the things we will be focusing on is the finances of council and how we fund growth in the city.
“There will be a lot of discussion and financial remodelling. That is a huge task on its own, the projections have changed and we need to change with it.”
City council staff have been working on the figures since the triple-whammy rates increases were announced. Stuart says the new scenarios promise a reduction in the projections. The councillors will be presented with the draft budgets for Christmas holiday reading, with the community being presented with the new options in March 2011.
One of the two councillors to fail in his re-election bid is Hayden Evans, whose political career has been one of the more colourful in the last term.
“I’m not too phased, in my line of stuff there’s plenty of work,” says Hayden.
Returning Mount Maunganui ward councillor Wayne Moultrie says there were a few surprises with the result, but he’s hoping the new council will be more focused than the last council.
“I think that is a goal we should all be working towards.”