Waikato Regional Council news
Barry Quayle has been voted in as the new Chair of Waikato Regional Council, after a majority of councillors backed the removal of Russ Rimmington from the top spot in a meeting held today.
The extraordinary meeting of council was called after a requisition signed by eight councillors was delivered on 17 April 2022 to deal with matters associated with the role of chair.
During the meeting, there was recognition of the extensive contribution made by Cr Rimmington to the Hamilton and wider Waikato communities over a number of years. However, some councillors expressed concern about the culture amongst the governance arm and that the council position on a number of matters was not being well represented.
In a vote of 8-6, a motion to remove Cr Rimmington as Chair of Waikato Regional Council was passed.
Immediately following the vote, Cr Rimmington said it was “disappointing” but “democracy has spoken”. He indicated there could be a judicial review of the decision.
Nominations were then made for a new Waikato Regional Council Chair, with only Hamilton constituent Barry Quayle put forward as a contender. The motion to formally appoint him was passed in a vote of 11-3.
Kataraina Hodge – who chaired the majority of the meeting after Cr Rimmington declared a conflict of interest – remains as the Deputy Chair of the council.
Following the meeting, Cr Quayle reassured the community that decision making would be unaffected by the leadership change.
“It is important going forward that this council acts as one and that we have cohesion. I am confident that all 14 councillors will be able to continue to respectfully and robustly discuss issues affecting the region, and make decisions that are in the best interests of the Waikato.
“Throughout this triennium we’ve demonstrated that – despite at times divergent individual views – we can engage in full and frank discussions and make big decisions. That’s been evident with matters like the 10-year budget, our position on local government and three waters reform, our COVID-19 response, public transport, and most recently the management of pests in our region.
“While there’s just a few months left in this term of council, there’s plenty more work to be done. The coastal plan review is just one example of that – we’ll be working hard and closely with staff to ensure iwi, stakeholder and community views have been taken account ahead of notification.
“Always at the front of our minds will be the vision we set as a council early in our term of caring for our place, empowering our people. We’ll live up to that, together.
“Finally, I would like to acknowledge the valuable and passionate contribution Cr Rimmington has made as chair of this council. I am certain he will continue to represent the best interests of his Hamilton constituents and the wider region over the remaining months of this triennium.”
The meeting was attended by a number of members of the public, with deputations by Geoff Taylor and Mark Bunting.