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Published: 2010-10-28 00:00:00

Environment Waikato councillors today returned Peter Buckley as chairman of the regional council.

At the first meeting of the three-year term, councillors elected their chair and deputy chair and appointed councillors to committees.

Cr Buckley, councillor for North Waikato-Hauraki, won the chair's position seven votes to five, ahead of the only other nominee, new Waipa-King Country councillor Russ Rimmington.

Councillors then elected Coromandel constituency representative, Simon Friar, as deputy chair, ahead of Hamilton councillor Jane Hennebry.

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 eight standing committees.

Mr Buckley said the majority of 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 as we continue to work with our iwi partners and the wider community to protect the environment that drives our economy."

Committee chairs and deputies elected at the meeting included:

  • Catchment Services Committee – Stuart Kneebone (Waipa-King Country), Tony Armstrong (Hamilton)
  • Environment Committee – Jane Hennebry (Hamilton), Phillip Legg (Matamata-Piako)
  • Finance and Audit Committee –  Phillip Legg (Matamata-Piako), Russ Rimmington (Waipa-King Country)
  • Policy and Strategy Committee –  Paula Southgate (Hamilton), Russ Rimmington (Waipa-King Country)
  • Regulatory Committee –  Lois Livingston (Hamilton), Theresa Stark (Central Waikato)
  • Transport Committee and Passenger Transport Committee –  Norm Barker (South Waikato-Rotorua), Paula Southgate (Hamilton)
  • Pest Management – Laurie Burdett (Taupo), Lois Livingston (Hamilton)

The next meeting of the new council will be on 9 December 2010.