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WHANGAREI LEADER, NOVEMBER 2, 2010
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By DENISE PIPER
NEW mayor Morris Cutforth admits
it has been easy to criticise the coun-
cil when standing outside looking in.
But on his first day in office he
backed down on several points he
made on the campaign trail.
Mr Cutforth was officially
declared Whangarei mayor during a
formal ceremony last week.
During his welcoming speech he
admitted that having access to
reports, documents and staff made
him realise how much work had
been undertaken at the council.
Plans and systems for a clean har-
bour were already on paper, he said.
A few weeks ago I thought my
role was to develop these plans, now
I realise it's my job to ensure these
plans are done, and very soon.''
Mr Cutforth said his concerns
over the second harbour crossing
being at the expense of a clean har-
bour had been allayed.
The processes are well under way
and tenders will be going out in the
next few weeks.''
He also admitted it was not
necessary to call in the auditors to
look at the council books -- some-
thing he had called for on the cam-
Auditors from Audit New Zealand
signed off the council's 2009-10
annual report and Mr Cutforth said
another audit was not necessary.
But he said it would be good to
change the report so the average
Joe Bloggs'' could understand it.
The mayor did make some
changes, including introducing a
15-minute public forum to full coun-
Members of the public must ask
for a chance to speak before the
meeting and will be given three
minutes each, with time extensions
allowed if 75 percent of the council
He also said he wanted to look at
the idea of youth councils and youth
During his welcome speech Mr
Cutforth called the campaign trail
I just hated it. It's awful driving
down the street and seeing your face
He said his inauguration was a
day for the ordinary bloke'' and he
paid credit to family members who
had also served in Whangarei.
The ceremony included per-
formances by the choir of St Francis
Xavier School, Rick Kennaway and
He used to sing with Opera North
and even joined in for one of their
He chose to hang up the mayoral
robe and chains at the full council
meeting after the ceremony, saying
he wanted a more inclusive
Whangarei residents wanting
information on the State
Highway 1 improvements
between Tarewa Rd and
Selwyn Ave can call a
dedicated 0800 number. The
NZ Transport Agency has set
up the number --
Some houses already
purchased for the works
have been removed, and
work to widen SH1 and
improve intersections is
scheduled to start early next
Work is likely to start at the
Central Ave intersection in the
New Year and then move to
Selwyn Ave. Work from Wilson
to Fourth Ave is not planned
until late next year.
Improvements to the
Kensington Ave and Manse St
intersections are being
Tickets for the inaugural
Northland Women of
Distinction Awards are now
The awards will be presented
at a special lunch ceremony
on November 11 run by
Nominations have closed with
18 women entered in five
Tickets are $55 or $500 for a
table of 10, with proceeds
going to young women's
leadership resources and the
YWCA Encore Programme for
breast cancer survivors.
Contact Nerida Hawkins on
438-2926 or ydub
email@example.com for more
Outgoing deputy takes parting shot at Halse
New leaders: Bream Bay councillor Phil Halse, left, has been elected deputy to Morris Cutforth.
By DENISE PIPER
A mongrel'' councillor has been
elected deputy mayor after a
changing of the guard at the
Whangarei District Council.
Bream Bay representative Phil
Halse has been re-appointed
deputy to new mayor Morris
Mr Halse has been a councillor
for 18 years and was deputy to
But his election was marred by
accusations from recent deputy
At the full council meeting last
Wednesday, Mr Sutherland said
Mr Halse committed prime land to
developers Neil Group.
A commitment was made to
Neil Group by councillor Halse as
deputy mayor -- that commitment
was made without the sanction of
the council and committed a prize
piece of this district's heritage and
position to the developer.
I trust that that won't be
In response Mr Halse said any
commitment to the sale of land had
to go before full council.
Mr Sutherland's rebuttal was
swift: I heard that but it's not
However, Mr Halse got support
from all of the other councillors,
apart from Crichton Christie.
John Williamson said he had
seen Mr Halse grow as a person
when he was deputy mayor and he
was just what the mayor needed.
With all due respect, you're
going to need someone perhaps
with a bit of mongrel,'' he told Mr
Mr Cutforth said Mr Halse
complemented his own broad pic-
ture style by being a details person
and had wide experience.
In other major appointments,
Hikurangi third-term councillor
Greg Martin was made chairman
of the infrastructure and services
committee, taking the role off Mr
Shelley Deeming and Warwick
Syers retained their chairs of the
environment, and finance and sup-
All councillors will be members
on all three committees until a
review at the end of six months.
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