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Well, another election is over, and I have begun work to establish an effective committee structure.

Council staff have been getting new councillors booked into induction sessions, and all our councillors are getting up to speed with the new systems we will all be using.

By the time this is published, we will have sworn in the 11th council for the Waitaki district, and I feel very confident and happy that we will have a very cohesive group.

Not a group that will agree all the time, by any means, but one that wants to keep Waitaki moving forward and that looks after all the various groups and individuals across the 7000sq km that make up the Waitaki district.

The election generated some interesting results. Getting six out of seven sitting councillors re-elected, as well as myself, is a sign of faith in the direction we are going, and that is humbling.

We all know there are issues around the Waitaki district, but the feedback I’ve had from many members of the public is that they realise there will always be issues, but they trust our team to get on and deal with them as best they can.

I think it is also positive that the voters have delivered us four new councillors who are seen to be generally progressive and very community-minded in their attitudes.

There are lessons too, however.

There are those who want more transparency, but sometimes it may be the case that we just don’t make people fully aware of how much information is already available in the public domain from council. We will continue to review what can be done to improve this situation.

The ongoing issues with roading and some other services are being worked on and, again, we can better communicate with people to tell them what is being done.

This week when we get sworn in, our councillors and I swear an oath to serve the district – and not just the wards any of us live in, not just the town we may spend the most time in, but the whole Waitaki district.

From Flag Swamp in the south to Lake Ohau village in the north (and a bit further), we will work to improve our entire wonderful district to help make it the best place to live in.

Thank you to all who took part in the election – to all candidates and those who took the time to vote. You have all helped to ensure we have a team who will work closely together to serve you.

Waitaki deserves nothing less!

Best wishes,

Gary