Farmer joins mayoral race

By Rebekah Fraser
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Westland Milk Products director Mike Havill is set to enter the Westland mayoral race.
Formerly of Kowhitirangi, Mr Havill now lives in Ahaura, in the Grey Valley, but retains links to Westland.
“The fact that I don’t live here wont impact on things. I am still heavily involved in Westland and we still have property here.”
He has two farming properties, one in Kowhitirangi and the other in the Grey Valley, and is involved in sporting clubs in Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi and Hokitika. He is the longest servicing director of Westland Milk with 14 years’ service, seven as deputy chairman.
Mr Havill officially announced his intentions yesterday to challenge incumbent Maureen Pugh and councillor Kyle Scott for the mayoral mantle.
Mrs Pugh said she was aware of the challenge and had already offered Mr Havill some advice about the role.
“Mike is a real contender, and the only one so far. We have had a good chat about it. I took the opportunity to inform him about some historic details, provide him with some logistical advice, and what he can expect in terms of time commitment to the role.”
Mr Havill said he wanted to give something back to the community.
“Things haven’t been going that well in council. It’s not about throwing stones.”
While a lot of people chose to “look on from the sidelines” he said he wanted to offer his skills to get the council back on track.
“I want to lead a council that is positive and united.
“Westland Milk Products is growing every year and I can bring some of that knowledge to council.”
Councils had an “extremely” important role in any community, having to provide infrastructure, meet regulatory and social obligations, comply with the law and deliver services cost effectively while apportioning rates.
“I believe my experience in business and governance provide a platform to lead council through a challenging era and look forward to the opportunity of meeting that challenge.”
Mr Havill said he would not be running in a team, but he did encourage others to stand for election.
“The community is full of intelligent and capable people and it’s about getting them in the right spots and having a go. I’d encourage anyone who is thinking about running for council to back themselves, like I have, and stand.
“I am proud of my West Coast heritage and believe Westland district has the opportunity to prosper with a diverse economy underpinned by dairying, manufacturing, beef, tourism, mining and timber along with many of the other resources available throughout the district.”
Nominations for the local body elections open on July 19 and close on August 16. Elections will be held on October 12.