Ex-mayor to head growers' council

A former Gisborne mayor is the new president of the New Zealand Grape Growers Council.

Gisborne grape grower John Clarke was nominated for the role at the New Zealand Grape Growers annual meeting at the Romeo Bragato conference at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim yesterday.

Mr Clarke, who was mayor of Gisborne 12 years ago, replaces Marlborough wine grower Stuart Smith, who has been in the role for six years.

Mr Clarke said Mr Smith had a tough challenge during those six years and he was looking forward to the role as advocate for people in the industry.

"On behalf of all the growers, I want to acknowledge all the hard work Stuart's done.

"What I'll be doing flows on from what he's been doing, looking at ways in which to return some profitability to growers."

Mr Smith said his successor was the perfect choice to take over because he was experienced as a grower and in the role of governance.

"I've enjoyed the industry and the roles I've held but it's time for a change."

The Marlborough Express