I must admit that news of my failed re-election 2 weeks ago was met with an unexpected sense of disappointment. More than anything else, I was and am disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to apply all that I had learnt about local government. But as I often do, I didn't dwell on it and focused on moving forward.
We spent the next day accepting 17 speaking enquiries into 2014 which Jiun had put on hold pending the election results and new Council calendar. We confirmed 8 engagements up to Christmas and added 3 more in the last fortnight.
Unlike my fellow outgoing colleagues, I am extremely fortunate that my professional life has quickly gone on its way back on track to pre-Council days for me. I am now 100% certain that I had made the right decision not to cease my speaking career completely when I was elected into Council.
My life in the last 2 weeks has also returned to pre-Council days. Apart from 2 days in Australia speaking to IBM and a morning at Selwyn Ridge School speaking to the kids on their Leadership Day, I spent hours and days working on my long neglected toys and speedway car. I have not been able to race them because I simply had not had the time to put in the work required to get them to optimum levels.
I didn't realise how much I had missed this part of my life and lifestyle until now. So the elections have indeed dealt me a winning hand.
Last weekend, Jiun said to me, "Welcome back" just out of the blue and I obviously had no idea what she meant. She explained that I had become a very different person; negative, cynical, frustrated and as a result, sometimes even mean. It was not the first time she had said that since my Council appointment and I had always dismissed it. I denied it again but she smiled, gave me a kiss and continued making breakfast.
I spent the rest of that day thinking about that while I worked on my boats and I realised that she was right. I had not felt so happy, free and light-hearted in a while. Close to 3 years to be exact. She and I hardly argue or fight yet I had failed to notice how often we did especially in my last year in Council. Hindsight is so powerful and I now can appreciate why she preferred that I did not run for re-election.
We have been reading some of the comments made by the new Councillors following their successful election. I must clarify, just as my other former colleagues and the press have, that our city's debt is far from $500 million as most of the new Councillors misleadingly but successfully campaigned on. I would have made far more elaborate comments 2 weeks ago but see no point in it now because the new Councillors will learn, just has I did and some of that ignorance will die. I did but doubt any of them caught the message and warning that the Mayor issued in the media less than 2 weeks ago.
I would also urge the new Councillors to be more respectful to the Mayor and staff. Despite what you may believe or what one particular former Councillor may say, you will quickly learn for yourself that Stuart is the only one left who you may rely on to guide and teach you. The CEO and GMs are extremely knowledgeable, highly qualified and experienced and you will be depending on them throughout your term. To suggest that you are smarter, more knowledgeable and intelligent is not only disrespectful, it is completely misguided.
As an end note, I heartily congratulate all who were successful in the last election especially to Mayor Stuart Crosby. May you all bring Tauranga to the heights that you promised in your respective campaigns.