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Published: 2004-10-28 00:00:00

Environment Waikato Councillors have elected Central Waikato Councillor Jenni Vernon as their new Chairman at the first meeting of the Council today.

Waipa Councillor Barry O’Connor was elected Deputy Chairman. Cr Vernon has served two terms on Environment Waikato and Cr O’Connor one term.

Mrs Vernon said the new Council was a wonderful team facing many challenges. New members would enjoy themselves, although there would be times when they would feel challenged and very busy.

“We have a lot of work to do and everybody’s skills will be used.”

The Council also voted on remuneration from its total salary pool of $655,365. The Chairman is paid $115,352, Deputy Chairman $56,930 and Committee Chairs $52,730 and members $37,914 including an allowance for resource consent hearings. Members of subcommittees will receive a meeting allowance of $120 a day.

Committee Chairs include Jim Howland (Regulatory), Lois Livingston (Policy and Strategy), Angus Macdonald (Land Transport), Basil Morrison (Corporate Services), Andra Neeley (Catchment Services), David Peart (Biosecurity) and Paula Southgate (Environment).

The Council has also set up a formal Environment Waikato/Hamilton City Council Liaison Subcommittee. Cr David Peart said he felt there needed to be some formalising of the relationship between the two Councils in recognition of the Council’s work with its largest urban area. Other Hamilton representatives agreed.

“Hamilton has a number of issues of any large urban area, and we need to get the message across about the effect of the urban area on the environment. There is a feeling in the city that the environment is ‘out there’,” he said.

Deputy Chairman Barry O’Connor said he hoped that difficult issues could be dealt with by the subcommittee before any other action needed to be taken.