Cox named deputy mayor

By Rebekah Fraser

Westland District Mayor Mike Havill has picked businesswoman Pauline Cox as his deputy.
Mr Havill made the announcement at his — and the council’s — inaugural meeting in Hokitika yesterday.
Cr Cox lives at Kokatahi but represents the southern ward, where she has strong links, having a holiday home at Okarito and having spent 15 years working for a helicopter company at the glaciers.
She said she was looking forward to being part of the team that takes Westland into a “positive” future.
“It’s going to be a hell of a ride. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s exciting,” Cr Cox said.
Mr Havill did not mince words when he laid out exactly what he expects of councillors over the next three years.
“This is a very exciting time in my life. I have a really good feeling that as a team we will be able to take this district forward,” he said.
He told councillors he intended to run open meetings and each councillor would be expected to know about every issue.
“As councillors we have a duty of collective responsibility. Some councillors will be in the minority, but we are one council.”
He would not be “pursuing discussions” that did not have a clear output.
“I demand respect. We have been appointed to a high office in our district,” Mr Havill said.
He also warned that any councillor caught breaching council confidentiality could expect to reprimanded.
“I will not tolerate it. Nothing destroys a council faster.”
Mr Havill also followed up on his promise to take the monthly council meetings back to the townships, as happened previously. Every second meeting is likely to be held outside of Hokitika in a bid to ensure the country townships have the chance to have their say.
As such, the November meeting is scheduled for Franz Josef Glacier.
Taking the meetings on the road would allow councillors to meet people, view infrastructure and see how the council was involved in those communities, he said.
Public forums may be held at lunchtime to allow residents to come along and have their say.
“That way, when we go back out and do the long-term plan we won’t be strangers in that town.”
The council will use technology to ensure staff will be on hand to answer any questions, but the chief executive and managers will attend each meeting.
The new-look council will have just one committee — audit and finance — to be chaired by Cr Mark Dawson, who is the chief financial officer for Development West Coast. It will also be responsible for the chief executive’s remuneration and any emergency decisions and will report to the full council for a decision.
During the inauguration yesterday, each councillor was given the chance to address the council and those gathered.
Youngest councillor Latham Martin was supported by the Westland High School kapa haka group.
“It a special day for me. It’s great to see Westland High School here, that’s why I am here. We are here for our future,” he said.
Returning councillor Murray Montagu told his fellow councillors he hoped they could all work together to serve Westland.
“Sound knowledge leads to sound decision making. You are no longer on the sideline, you’re in the middle.”