Profile: New Western Bay of Plenty Mayor James Denyer

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Connecting with the community throughout the Western Bay of Plenty mayoral campaign has solidified what I and many others believe about our district: we are a vibrant community with many aspirations and ideas.

It is a privilege to have been elected to represent our District as the Western Bay of Plenty mayor. Since I got the call my phone hasn’t stop ringing or getting messages, and it is humbling and a little overwhelming to be in this position and I wish to say thank you to everyone for that support.

I have previously served the Western Bay as a councillor, and the rigours of an election campaign were familiar to me, but running for Mayor was a whole new experience. From ‘Meet the Candidate’ events through to livestreamed debates, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with you and compare notes about our priorities for this beautiful region. Congratulations also to everyone who put themselves forward for office. I want to also acknowledge candidates’ support crews at home – to my wife Victoria and my two children, thanks for keeping me on track and grounded.

As this is my first column as Mayor, I wanted to provide a little bit about me. Whānau is very important and I cherish my time with my family. I want those opportunities for the people in our District also. It’s also important to me to enjoy the outdoors, and occasionally spend some time recharging by enjoying our wonderful environment, whether tramping in the bush or being at the beach. As Council, we have a role in making these places accessible and inviting, and that’s a focus for me.

This election, Council made the decision to host and livestream candidate debates and create the Generation Change website to publicise the election, both in terms of attracting candidates and to help inform residents before casting their votes. I aim to continue this renewed effort to engage with our communities. A desire for improved communication was one of the messages that I heard on the campaign trail. As your Councillors and I get settled in, I want to assure you that we have heard this call, and we’re committed to connecting with you to make decisions with your feedback in mind.

Being out and about in the community and making connections is also part of that communication process, listening to the people and understanding their aspirations. While I have always been active in my local Katikati community through my involvement with several groups including Rotary and Aongatete Forest Project, I am looking forward to broadening my connections in all parts of the District. Indeed, this already started during the election as I participated in events run by residents’ associations in Pukehina, Te Puna, Paengaroa and Ōmokoroa, and took part in the Sikh Parade in Te Puke.

The role of mayor promises to be an extremely busy one, and the first couple of weeks after the election were certainly a whirlwind of inductions, learning, meeting people, and generally finding my feet at the start of a new job.

Over the coming months, we will start to bring together our plan for the next three years. This will involve Councillors working with mana whenua and representatives from across our communities. I plan on providing updates monthly through this column and via the Council website. I will be your voice, and I will listen, so let me know how you think I’m going.

I look forward to serving our District and achieving some positive change.

Related: A new way forward for the Western Bay of Plenty

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James Denyer
James Denyer
James Denyer, Western Bay Of Plenty Mayor

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