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Being honest about decisions – Anne Tolley

A successful outcome is not measured only in the ‘bottom line’.

Tauranga City Council is a significant business, managing assets worth more than $4.7 billion, but it is also a community organisation, charged with representing the interests of 150,000-plus residents.

Having now served for five months as Chair of the Commission which provides the council’s governance function, I can tell you that making decisions which provide the best possible outcome for the entire community is not always a simple task.

Looking at my role in the governance team, which is effectively that of a Mayor, there are a number of requirements. While it’s simply not possible to please everyone, it’s essential that anyone who wants to express a view on a Council matter is heard and treated with respect.

That means being honest when a decision is not likely to satisfy the individual or organisation involved, but it also means listening with an open mind and making changes where they will create a better outcome. Governance also requires decisiveness, making good decisions based on evidence and then sticking with those decisions and being ready to advocate for them in the face of criticism, where necessary.

I hesitate to offer advice to the region’s business leaders, but I would say that a successful outcome is not measured only in the ‘bottom line’ – it also considers whether the interests of stakeholders (i.e. everyone affected by our business activities) have been well-served; and whether we’ve done the right thing by our environment.

It may be something of a cliché, but there really is no ‘Planet B’, so let’s do our best to leave our world in a better state than we found it.

Again, my take on opportunities for regional business growth is shaped by my role. It’s my job to make Tauranga a better place to do business, by building upon our natural strengths – climate, fertile hinterland, great environment, the country’s best deep-water port, etc.

The successful business of the future will be sustainable and will want to establish here because we understand and implement sustainable practices; and because we have invested wisely in the community facilities and infrastructure that make Tauranga a great place to live.

Affordable housing for staff and their families is a big part of that picture. If that resonates, we hope you will find your place in our wonderful part of the world.

Read: Commissioners front up to Tauranga challenge


Anne Tolley | Commission Chair – Tauranga City Council

Anne has been deeply involved in local and national politics for the past 35 years, highlighted by nine years as a Cabinet Minister – holding the portfolios of Education, Police, Corrections, MSD and Local Government.

After retiring as East Coast MP in 2020, she was appointed Chair of the Commission which fulfils the governance role at Tauranga City Council.

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