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Published: 2016-12-15 15:50:00

A talented team of experienced councillors has been agreed as committee chairs at Waikato Regional Council today, along with the establishment of new roles that reflect the growing complexity of the council’s business. 

“I’m confident we have established a really solid team of committee chairs and a committee structure that will help us in serving the community’s needs even better,” said council chair Alan Livingston. 

The strategy and policy committee will continue to be chaired by Bob Simcock, a former Hamilton mayor who also chairs the Waikato District Health Board.

Long-standing Hamilton councillor Jane Hennebry is back as chair of the finance committee. The finance committee’s audit and risk sub-committee of the last council term is being transformed into a full council committee in its own right. It will be led by an outside independent chair, Hamish Stevens, who previously chaired the audit and risk sub-committee. “The creation of a full audit and risk committee reflects the attention we are giving to sound financial performance,” said Mr Livingston, a former banker.

Hugh Vercoe, previously a Matamata-Piako mayor and ex-chair of the Waikato Mayoral Forum, remains as chair of the regional transport committee (and as earlier agreed also heads the Waikato civil defence emergency management joint committee).

Kathy White from the Taupo constituency chairs a newly named environmental and services performance committee, which will have a focus on monitoring how the council delivers on its tasks.

In a reflection of the workload associated with integrated catchment management (ICM), there will be two ICM committee joint chairs. Waihou councillor Stuart Husband will have special responsibility for the lower Waikato, Waihou-Piako and Coromandel zones, with Waipa-King Country councillor Stu Kneebone focusing on the Taupo, upper Waikato, central Waikato, Waipa and West Coast zones.

The Hamilton public transport joint committee will be chaired by former Hamilton mayor Russ Rimmington. It will be looking at an updated public transport plan.

Committee composition is due to be reviewed after the bye-election being held early next year in the Hamilton constituency for the seat left vacant after the death of councillor Lois Livingston.