Fo­cus on Porirua’s strengths: Mayor

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Porirua’s new city coun­cil should fo­cus on the pos­i­tives and nur­ture the city’s tal­ent, mayor Nick Leggett said in his in­au­gu­ral ad­dress last Tues­day night.

Dozens of fam­ily mem­bers and friends gath­ered in Pataka’s spine for the inau­gu­ra­tion of Mr Leggett and the city’s 10 coun­cil­lors.

Each read and signed a dec­la­ra­tion dur­ing the swear­ing- in cer­e­mony, with deputy mayor ’ Ana Cof­fey and Litea Ah Hoi mak­ing their ad­dresses in Maori.

Ms Ah Hoi had the most en­thu­si­as­tic sup­porter in the crowd, a tod­dler who shouted ‘‘go granny, go granny!’’ from her mother’s knee.

Mr Leggett gave a warm wel­come to the only novice coun­cil­lor, Izzy Ford, who did a fist pump af­ter sign­ing her dec­la­ra­tion.

‘‘I feel you’ll fit into the swing of things and I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with you,’’ he said.

Ms Ford was sup­ported in the crowd by her fam­ily and her po­lit­i­cal men­tor, for­mer Mana MP Win­nie La­ban.

The coun­cil’s chal­lenge for the next three years was to en­able gifted and am­bi­tious lo­cals to thrive, Mr Leggett said.

‘‘There are so many ta­lented and ex­cit­ing peo­ple in our city and our job as a coun­cil is to cel­e­brate them and to build an ethos in our city that al­lows more tal­ent to flour­ish.’’

Coun­cil­lors also needed to con­tinue to chal­lenge Porirua’s poor im­age, Mr Leggett said.

‘‘Too of­ten we hear things that are neg­a­tive in the me­dia by peo­ple who don’t live here, and col­lec­tively we have to live up to what’s great about our town, not what’s not so great.’’

Peo­ple want­ing to im­prove the city should start to­day, Mr Leggett said, quot­ing Ms Cof­fey: ‘‘No­body who lives here has to wait for per­mis­sion to do great things in our city.’’

On Wed­nes­day the coun­cil met again in cham­bers, and Mr Leggett’s nom­i­na­tions for port­fo­lio and com­mit­tee lead­ers were ap­proved.

Euon Mur­rell will con­tinue as Te Komiti chair­man, with Ms Ford and Denys Latham as his deputies.

Coun­cil kau­matua, Ngati Toa’s Taku Parai, was awarded speak­ing rights at any coun­cil meet­ing he chooses to at­tend, which Mr Leggett said would al­low coun­cil­lors to draw on the iwi’s cul­tural ex­per­tise.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant that we have an on­go­ing re­la­tion­ship with the mana whenua.’’

Ken Dou­glas said an is­sue for the coun­cil was the ‘‘vex­a­tious and friv­o­lous’’ overuse of Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act re­quests by in­di­vid­u­als in the com­mu­nity.

Mr Mur­rell sin­gled out the Ti­tahi Bay Res­i­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion for crit­i­cism over its re­cent news­pa­per ad­ver­tise­ment as­sess­ing Western ward coun­cil­lors’ per­for­mances.

‘‘ We fund some of th­ese res­i­dents’ as­so­ci­a­tions for rent and other costs. Sure, they’re al­lowed to crit­i­cise, but fund­ing an ad in the pa­per which we’re pay­ing for, I find just not the thing. I’ll be tak­ing a harder line with that par­tic­u­lar as­so­ci­a­tion.’’

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

Young and di­verse: Porirua’s four coun­cil­lors aged un­der 40. From left, deputy mayor ’Ana Cof­fey, 35, Bron­wyn Kropp, 22, mayor Nick Leggett, 34, and Izzy Ford, 39.

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