Mayor's challengers miss out

03:28, Nov 01 2013
Jono Naylor
FRESH TERM: Jono Naylor addresses council at the inaugural Palmerston North City Council meeting.

Palmerston North Mayor Jono Naylor has stuck with his trusted second-in-charge Jim Jefferies as deputy.

He said Cr Jefferies was capable of carrying out the role of mayor when necessary, was incredibly well-balanced, and a valued sounding board for him.

But his closest opponent for the mayoralty and the voters' most popular choice for councillor, Lew Findlay, has been sidelined in the new-look council. Mr Naylor announced his choice of deputy mayor and committee chairs at the inaugural council meeting last night, which attracted a full public gallery of guests, families and supporters.

Cr Findlay will no longer chair the community wellbeing committee, which has been renamed the community development committee.

His replacement is Vaughan Dennison, who said he was looking forward to his first chairmanship after a 12-year apprenticeship as a councillor. Cr Findlay said he believed he had been demoted as punishment for opposing the mayor.

The other councillor who challenged the mayor, Duncan McCann, also missed out on a leadership role.


The reshuffle means promotions for two councillors entering their second term.

Cr Susan Baty will chair the finance and performance committee, and Tangi Utikere gets the hearings committee. Cr Annette Nixon retains her role chairing the planning and policy committee.

Cr Ross Linklater assumes chairmanship of the audit and risk committee, a role previously held by Bruce Wilson, who was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election.

In his inaugural address, Mr Naylor welcomed four new councillors - Leonie Hapeta, Rachel Bowen, Grant Smith and Aleisha Rutherford.

He said the pressure was on as those successful candidates made the transition to being councillors, to live up to commitments made to work toward certain outcomes, behave in a particular way, and abide by their values.

But as members of a team, all councillors had to learn co-operation, collaboration, and the art of compromise. They would not always get their way.

And he reminded councillors that the declaration they made was to act in the best interests of the community, which was not always the same thing as doing what a vocal section of the community wanted.

Manawatu Standard