Newly appointed chief executive raring to go


Alex Parmley ticked all the boxes for the Waitaki District Council – and Waitaki ticked all the boxes for Mr Parmley.

Mr Parmley, from England, was this week announced as the Waitaki District Council’s new chief executive. He will replace Fergus Power, who finishes at the council on June 4.

At present, Mr Parmley is the South Somerset District Council chief executive, working with 60 councillors, in the UK.

He plans to move to Oamaru with his wife, Elizabeth, who is from New Zealand, and their four children. He will start with the council on July 14.

The family always planned to move to New Zealand, but Mr Parmley did not want to settle somewhere with “just any job”.

“I wanted a job that would be both interesting and challenging, as well as being a good match to my skills and outlook,” Mr Parmley said.

“We also wanted to be in a place that would be good for our young family, and Oamaru and Waitaki clearly have a lot to offer in this respect.”

Mrs Parmley previously worked for the University of Otago, and they had visited Waitaki before.

Mr Parmley – who was a finalist for chief executive of the year in the UK’s MJ Local Government Achievement Awards last year – thought the Waitaki District Council held a clear ambition to do the best for its residents.

Change was on the horizon for local government, and Mr Parmley believed it had an important role in dealing with challenges such as Covid-19, climate change, supporting growth of local business and jobs and protecting the environment.

“I have long been involved in managing change with a clear focus on securing better results for local communities.”

He was looking forward to getting started and making a positive difference in the Waitaki district.

“My job is not to have all the answers, but instead to ensure we engage with councillors, staff, communities, businesses, government and partner organisations to get the answers that are right for the residents and communities of Waitaki.”

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher was looking forward to Mr Parmley’s arrival.

“He’s obviously an experienced chief executive already, albeit in the English system,” Mr Kircher said.

“Most importantly, Alex has experience in areas that local government in New Zealand will likely soon become more involved in, helping central government fill the gaps that their ministries and departments sometimes struggle to do on a local level.”

There were 41 applicants for the chief executive role. The executive committee shortlisted and interviewed seven candidates, then three were selected for final interviews with Mr Kircher and all councillors.