Mayor sets goals for next term

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - MIKE BAIN

The peo­ple of Mata­mata-Pi­ako love their mayor, Jan Barnes and it’s easy to see why.

Barnes loves them, and all she wants to do is serve them.

On the day the lo­cal gov­ern­ment can­di­date nom­i­na­tions closed, Barnes said she be­came ‘‘very emo­tional’’ when she found no one was stand­ing against her.

‘‘I was want­ing an elec­tion, I wanted to win it again,’’ she said.

But for the for­mer school den­tal nurse be­ing spared the ne­ces­sity of go­ing through the elec­tion process shows the con­fi­dence the com­mu­nity has placed in her.

For Barnes, this is her fifth term in lo­cal gov­ern­ment on the Mata­mata-Pi­ako Dis­trict Coun­cil.

It is her sec­ond term as the mayor. She rose through the ranks start­ing as a com­mu­nity board mem­ber in 2004, coun­cil­lor, and deputy mayor to even­tu­ally win­ning the may­oralty when long-term mayor Hugh Ver­coe opted to move on to the Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil.

Her con­fi­dence as a a mayor come from the fact that she has al­ways had a love and pas­sion for peo­ple to live their lives to the best of their abil­ity.

‘‘I want to main­tain what makes my coun­cil. And that is their [peo­ple] con­fi­dence to ap­proach us and let us help them by be­ing a part of the so­lu­tion to their prob­lems.’’

One of the chal­lenges ahead for the Barnes-led coun­cil is man­ag­ing the growth in Mata­mata.

‘‘We need to en­sure as a coun­cil we have ev­ery­thing in place for con­tin­ued growth and that means en­sur­ing we have the in­fra­struc­ture in place to ac­com­mo­date it,’’ she said.

Tourism is seen as a growth area with plans to pro­mote Te Aroha as a des­ti­na­tion us­ing its hot pools as the draw­card. There is also an ex­ten­sion of the pop­u­lar rail trail con­tin­u­ing on to Mata­mata.

Also on the wish list is at least one, four-star ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tion for the dis­trict.

But it’s a team en­vi­ron­ment that she wants first and fore­most to have ‘‘12 coun­cil­lors all work­ing for their com­mu­nity, that is where the value is in ratepayer spend­ing,’’ she said.

For now she faces a wait un­til the elec­tion is held in the Mata­mata Ward be­fore she knows the fi­nal make up of her new po­lit­i­cal team.

But Barnes can ex­pect to have at least five new coun­cil­lors and that has her mind buzzing with the op­por­tu­ni­ties for the next three-year term.

Mata­mata-Pi­ako mayor Jan Barnes has been re-elected un­op­posed.

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