Western Bay of Plenty District Council: Together we can achieve diversity

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Tēnā koutou,

For the past 12 months I’ve had the privilege of leading this incredible Council and witnessing the amazing level of care we have for the communities we work with.
We’re influencing positive change for our people and we have achieved some excellent outcomes for our District in recent years. But I believe there is more we can do to ensure we are truly a representation of our District.

This election year, I’m motivated to call on people from all walks of life to bring their diverse lived experiences to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council table. Whether retired or semi retired, tangata whenua, a businessperson, community advocate or university student everyone has a unique lived experience and deserves the right to represent their community.

If Council is not for you but you know someone who’d be great, why not shoulder tap them? Your encouragement could make a world of difference.

Flexibility a key to achieving Council diversity

Firstly, what would it take for you to get involved with Council? I understand that sometimes the barrier to people choosing to stand is the perceived lack of flexibility in the way Council is run. Particularly for those who are running a business and juggling other priorities and responsibilities.

So, what if I told you that it’s up to the newly elected Council to set the meeting structure for their term? This means the times, duration and frequency of meetings is determined by those at the table. If you could control this, would you get involved?

I’m committed and open to finding new ways to bring diversity to the table. Because the best things happen when decisions are made by people from all walks of life, who truly represent our diverse community. Other options Council is open to is allowing Councillors to attend meetings virtually and adapting our systems to support meeting times running outside of business hours. By working together, we can make change.

Let’s be clear, I’m not making any promises, rather acknowledging we need to change too, and these are just some of the ways we could do this by working together. It’s about thinking differently. Because having different voices around the table makes for more balanced decision making.

Influence Our Economic Future

As business owners, I’m encouraging you to bring your unique perspective to the table by considering standing for Council, to help positively grow our region.

Council has a direct impact on the vision, economic development, and talent attraction of our District. Elected members are responsible for setting the direction of the Council and are involved in developing the Annual and Long Term plans, which set its priorities and projects for the next 10 years.

We have some exciting decisions to make in the next three years, and we need the right people making those decisions. We need diversity of age, culture, experience, and skillsets.

If you stand for Council, you’ll be joining a group of other passionate, community-minded people who will make important decisions for our future on things like local infrastructure, like the roads your whānau bikes on, the parks and reserves where you walk your dogs, and local regulations such as solutions to housing issues and transport. Decisions that impact you, your business, and the Western Bay.

Making an Informed Vote

If you don’t choose to stand for Council, I implore you to vote. Councillors make decisions on the infrastructure and services that enable business to operate effectively. By learning about the priorities of candidates, you can make an informed vote and have a say in who is going to represent you and your business’ needs for the next three years.

Live debates will be taking place from 29 August to 1 September across the District. Voting closes 8 October. For more details, head to generationchange.nz

We’re on a journey to become a District with strong and sustainable community partnerships, that embraces the diversity of the area, and is bold in its vision for change.

It’s a time to act. We know where we need to go, but we can’t get there without you.

Nāku iti nei, nā.

0800 926 732
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John Holyoake
John Holyoake
Western Bay of Plenty District Council Chief Executive

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