Christmas message from mayor’s chair
Just over six years ago I was elected to our city council. I was born and raised in Palmerston North and have always felt a strong connection with our community. At the time I was working as a history teacher and Head of School at Freyberg High School, a job I enjoyed.
As I became more involved with local government, I appreciated the opportunity to represent our community, residents and ratepayers. I then decided to move on from my position in the education sector to focus on my council responsibilities and commit the time required to do the role justice.
With two terms under my belt, I’m now more than ready to serve as Deputy Mayor. My focus remains on strong and effective leadership, taking the council out into the community, and building a city where people want to live, raise their families, and start their own businesses.
I’ve retained the education portfolio, which now includes science, research and innovation. I will be supported by Councillors Leonie Hapeta and Brent Barrett, and will also continue to lead the multicultural portfolio with the support of Councillor Lew Findlay.
It’ll come as no surprise that I’m particularly passionate about education and helping our young people thrive.
One of our focus areas will be making it easier for young people to get the skills they need to move into paid work, as well as fostering our relationships with our many tertiary education providers.
Science, research and innovation are also key areas for Palmerston North, especially as we stake our claim as the agrifood capital of New Zealand.
During my last term, Councillor Aleisha Rutherford and I spearheaded the city’s digital strategy. The internet offers the opportunity for life-long learning, and connectivity brings benefits for people of all ages and stages.
I will continue to back this work as it directly supports our drive to be leaders in science, research and innovation, and to make Palmerston North a great place to raise a family, secure meaningful work, or start a business.
I’m looking forward to returning to council duties in 2017. We have a strong group of elected members who I believe will work well together to make the best decisions for Palmerston North. I would like to thank all elected members and council staff for their hard work and dedication throughout 2016. Together we’re making our city the best place it can be.
I wish you all a very merry and safe Christmas with your family and friends, and encourage you to take a good break before another busy year begins.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce (right) with Massey University vicechancellor Steve Maharey (left) and AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson (centre) at the proposed Food HQ site.