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Published: 2007-11-01 00:00:00

Environment Waikato’s new council got off to a flying start yesterday with the election of the chair and deputy chair and appointments to committees.

As was widely tipped prior to yesterday’s triennial meeting, regional councillors unanimously elected former Waikato Federated Farmers president Peter Buckley as chairman.

Cr Buckley, councillor for North Waikato-Hauraki, then nominated his Waikato Federated Farmers predecessor John Fisher to be his deputy. Cr Fisher’s nomination was also supported unanimously by councillors.

Following the election of the chair and deputy, councillors were invited to outline their committee preferences and to express their interest in chair and deputy chair positions on each of the seven standing committees.

Mr Buckley said all councillors who put their hand up for a chair or deputy chair post were able to be slotted into their preferred committee and he was pleased with how smoothly the whole process went.

“All councillors’ interests and strengths have been matched to each of the available positions,” Mr Buckley said.

“I am confident we have a strong, effective council that is well placed to take Environment Waikato forward.”

Committee chairs and deputies elected at the meeting included:

  • Catchment Services Committee – Andra Neeley (Waipa- King Country), Tony Armstrong (Hamilton)
  • Environment Committee – Jane Hennebry (Hamilton), Pat Gregory (Hamilton)
  • Finance and Audit Committee – John Fisher (Waipa-King Country), Simon Friar (Thames-Coromandel)
  • Policy and Strategy Committee – Paula Southgate (Hamilton), Pat Gregory (Hamilton)
  • Regulatory Committee – Ian Balme (Central Waikato), Frank Healey (Matamata-Piako)
  • Transport Committee/ Passenger Transport Committee – Norm Barker (South Waikato-Rotorua), Paula Southgate (Hamilton)
  • Pest Management – Simon Friar (Thames-Coromandel), Laurie Burdett (Taupo).

The council also voted on councillor remuneration from its total salary pool of $603,827, after the chairman’s salary is paid. The chairman is paid $123,310, including a car.

The council is proposing that the deputy chairman receives $60,465, committee chairpersons $50,380 and councillors $40,310. Councillors also receive a meeting allowance of $120 a day.

All councillors’ remuneration is set by the Remuneration Authority which will now make the final determination on the council’s proposals for salary and expenses.