Mayor sets goals for next term
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.