Tauranga City Council commission chair Anne Tolley has indicated she wants to continue in her current role.
She says she’d be “surprised” if the current four-person commission is broken up by Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.
The commissioners were installed by Mahuta in February last year to lead the council and replace a “dysfunctional” administration beset by name-calling and petty politics.
Tolley was joined by Bill Wasley, Stephen Selwood and Shadrach Rolleston.
An announcement by Mahuta earlier this month confirmed the model would remain in place in New Zealand’s fifth-largest city until July 2024, but early suggestions pointed at the possibility of some new faces on the commission.
However, Tolley has confirmed she will be “very happy” to stay on in the role alongside Wasley, Selwood and Rolleston, who are equally keen to remain in their current positions.
“Cabinet will make their own decisions, but we’ve all indicated to the Minister that we’re happy to continue and we want to continue,” says Tolley.
“It has to go to a cabinet decision, but I will be surprised if they changed any of the commission because the whole idea is built around continuity and certainty of direction.”
The Tauranga electorate had been expecting a return to a traditional voting model, with local elections originally pencilled in for October 2022.
Those plans were quashed when Mahuta announced the commission’s extension earlier this month, citing their understanding of “what is required to deliver significant and necessary change to a rapidly growing city.
At the time of her announcement, Mahuta said: “They have acted on many hard decisions that are essential to building a prosperous and sustainable future for Tauranga. But it is clear there is more to be done.”
Now Tolley remains confident that the current set-up will be given the green light to continue in a move that she says would add “complete certainty” to the situation.
“I’d be very happy to stay on and I’m committed to seeing it through to July 2024,” says the former National MP.
“It’s important to us that Tauranga is a great city. I’ve spent 15 years working on the Eastern Bay’s economic development and all of it relies on Tauranga being a major city with the country’s major port.
“The other commissioners feel the same, and once cabinet’s process of appointment goes through, then hopefully we will have complete certainty.”
Tolley has confirmed that they expect a formal decision to be made on the make-up of the commission by the end of March.