‘Keep up with growth’

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Let’s make town ‘more inclusive’ says newcomer to the council

Newly elected Waitaki councillor Jeremy Holding can’t wait to take his seat at the council table and serve the district he loves.
In his first tilt at running for the Waitaki District Council, after preliminary results were announced on Sunday, he had gained enough votes to secure a seat in the hotly-contested Oamaru ward race, where 12 candidates did battle for six vacancies.
Preliminary results do not include special votes.
“It’s an honour. It’s exciting that I had so much support in the community,” Mr Holding said. “I’m nervous at the same time – it’s going to be a challenge. ‘m definitely excited to be able to represent the town.”
Mr Holding, a business owner and surf instructor, met Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher on Tuesday to discuss what council committees he might join and had a tour of the council offices and met some of the staff.
While he was keen to get his feet under the table, Mr Holding, the sole new face in the Oamaru ward, said his first focus would be to learn how to do the job.
“At this stage, for me, I want to get in there and learn the processes and how I can be effective.”
During his campaign, Mr Holding said he wanted to see more people move to Oamaru to start families, to provide more support for businesses and to be a voice for youth.
He said Oamaru, and the Waitaki district as a whole, was embracing change more than ever. “I’m definitely excited about the town and the community … I want us to keep up with the growth we are getting.
“We have everything here and I think for me, it’s about how we can make the town more inclusive.” Mr Holding said the biggest challenge for him would be getting to grips with exactly what the job entailed. “I think it’s just the learning curve – learning the language and the processes and what you are governed by.”
While happy to have been elected, he sympathised with friend and fellow Oamaru ward hopeful Lucianne White, who missed out behind Mr Holding by only 43 votes when preliminary results were announced.
“It was hard to see. She’s really passionate so it would have been good for her to get on there as well, and I guess everyone that put their hand up too.”