Former mayor confirmed as Reese's deputy
Councillor Paul Matheson is Nelson's new deputy mayor, six years after an emotional farewell as mayor of the city in what was meant to be his retirement from local government.
After his return to the chamber three years ago, and doubt months before the election whether he would even stand again, he is now looking forward to providing a mentoring role to the new council team while providing back-up to Mayor-elect, Rachel Reese.
She said today that Mr Matheson, QSO, would bring huge experience to the role as deputy mayor.''Paul and I are quite different people and bring a varied range of skills to our roles - that diversity is healthy, but we are united in our desire to build a strong council that is better connected to the community.
''I have complete trust in Paul,'' Ms Reese said.
The former long-serving mayor, affectionately dubbed ''Landslide Matheson'' after a spectacularly slim winning margin in the 2004 elections, will be formally welcomed back into the leaders' fray at the official swearing in of councillors next Tuesday.
Council will be governed by the establishment of four standing committees to streamline information and decision making processes and to make the council more understandable and accessible to the public, Ms Reese said.
The makeup of each committee and who would head each was subject to final council approval at Tuesday's inaugural meeting.
Ms Reese said she had the option of using mayoral powers available to her to appoint the team, or opt for the traditional method of putting a recommendation to the council.Ms Reese said she was pleased to have full support from the council-elect for the new structure and committee appointments.
''I'm hugely impressed with the positive attitude everyone has brought to this. We could get to Tuesday and some might have had a change of heart, but I'm prepared to trust all,'' Ms Reese said.
As well as the committee appointments, councillors will take on additional responsibilities with external appointments.
All but the planning and regulatory committee, which is to be chaired by highest polling councillor Brian McGurk, are headed by long-serving elected members.
Three councillors re-elected this term and who held co-portfolios in the previous council - Crs Mike Ward, Kate Fulton and Ruth Copeland, have not been returned to chairing roles, although Ms Fulton looks set to deputise on the planning and regulatory committee.
Ms Reese said the key thing with a new council was to start from new, and assess the skills and experience each was able to bring to the council, and how they would best serve the community of Nelson.
She said while Mr McGurk did not have direct council experience he had a wealth of experience gained from his other fields of work.Ms Reese said Mr Ward had a huge interest in planning for the city's future and looking at ways and opportunities for developing inner-city living.
''I'm happy to support him pursue that work,'' Ms Reese said.
Mr Matheson said his appointment as deputy appeared to have been well received, and he was keen to help the new councillors in particular.
''I have told them they are now entering a new phase of council that is going to be far more transparent, and I will be available to help with the shock from the information that will inundate them.''
Mr Matheson said he was particularly impressed with the five new councillors.
''They are five very good people who are going to give the council new energy.''
He also credited Ms Reese for her tenacity and contribution to the city over the past six years.
''She has all the hallmarks of an outstanding local government leader. I am very happy to be in a position to offer my experience and support to our new mayor and to my colleagues,'' Mr Matheson said.
The swearing in of the new council is on Tuesday, October 29 at 4.30pm in the city council chamber. The public is welcome to attend.
City council structure
Mayor, Rachel Reese.
Deputy Mayor, Paul Matheson.
Recommendations for heads of committees are:
Community services committee chairman Pete Rainey, deputy Gaile Noonan.
Works and infrastructure committee chairman Eric Davy, deputy Matt Lawrey.
Planning and regulatory committee chairman Brian McGurk, deputy Kate Fulton.
Governance committee chairman Ian Barker, deputy Luke Acland.
*The Mayor will be ex-officio member of all committees.
- © Fairfax NZ News