First female leader at regional council
Taranaki Regional Council has elected its first female chairperson. At Wednesday’s triennial meeting Charlotte Littlewood was elected unopposed in the role, with councillor Craig Williamson nominating her for the position and councillor Donald McIntyre seconding the notion.
She takes over from David MacLeod, who stepped down from the council at this year’s election after 22 years in the job.
She nominated long-serving South Taranaki constituency councillor Neil Walker as her deputy, which also passed with no opposition.
Charlotte, in her third term representing the New Plymouth Constituency, thanked her fellow councillors for their support and pledged to lead diligently, respectfully and with integrity.
“I am truly humbled and this is something I don’t take lightly.”
She says the council had a key opportunity to become one of the best councils in New Zealand.
“I genuinely believe we have one of the most talented councils in TRC history.”
She says while she believes the best person for the role should always be chosen, being the first female chair is a milestone.
“Having a mix of people on council is so important, especially for the younger people in the community as they can see it’s possible for anyone to do.”
Also on Wednesday, Nga¯ Iwi o Taranaki confirmed four of their six representatives for appointment to Taranaki Regional Council’s two main standing committees.
Peter Moeahu will remain on the Policy and Planning Committee for another three years. He will be joined by Emily Bailey and Mitchell Ritai, who represented iwi on the Consents and Regulatory Committee last term. Newcomer Dion Luke will sit on the Consents and Regulatory Committee along with two other iwi representatives, to be nominated in the near future.
Iwi representatives first joined the standing committees in 2016, as part of the region’s Treaty of Waitangi settlements.
Littlewood says they had brought a unique perspective to the table, which benefited the entire region.
“We have seen just how valuable that iwi perspective is to ensure robust discussions and effective, collaborative decision-making. It’s great that three of the previous representatives have chosen to return, while we look forward to the fresh ideas the new appointees will bring.”
The nominated iwi representatives have been endorsed by the eight iwi in the region representing the three Taranaki waka — Aotea, Kurahaupo¯ and Tokomaru.
Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa chair Liana Poutu says the representatives play an important role, allowing for greater iwi input into the council’s processes.
New councillor Bonita Bigham was an iwi representative on the Policy and Planning Committee last term. She was elected unopposed in the newly created Taranaki Ma¯ori Constituency in this month’s election.
The first meetings of the Planning and Policy Committee and Consents and Regulatory Committee are on November 22. Agendas will be available on the council website three working days in advance.
Councillors read and signed a declaration to act in the best interests of the region, while the council as a whole also signed a declaration. Councillors also endorsed the Elected Members’ Code of Conduct.
A po¯whiri was held before the meeting to welcome councillors and iwi representatives, with the council’s leadership team and guests attending.
The first ordinary meeting of the new council takes place November 8, 1pm at Port Taranaki, at which the structure and chairs of council committees will be confirmed.
The full meeting agenda will be available on the council’s website three working days in advance.