Tuesday, June 18, 2024

New appointments to Whanganui committee

Whanganui District Council has appointed two independent members to its council-controlled organisations committee after a rigorous selection process.

Paul Bayly has been appointed as independent chair and Andrew Turner has been appointed as an independent member.

The committee will be renamed the council-controlled organisations and economic development committee (CCO and ED committee) to highlight the focus on commercial activities and economic development opportunities.

Whanganui Mayor, Andrew Tripe says the idea of adding independent members to the committee came about after he called for a review of governance and commercial efficiency for council-controlled organisations in February 2023. After this process, in March this year, the council decided to disestablish Whanganui District Council Holdings, the organisation charged with overseeing the council’s commercial assets.

“Holdings’ directors performed very well in overseeing our commercial companies, especially with keeping them in business during the difficult trading conditions presented during Covid lockdowns and the post-Covid recovery,” said Mayor Tripe.

“However, the review found it would be more cost-effective to disestablish Holdings and have the council’s commercial companies – GasNet, Whanganui Port, and the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy – report directly to the council’s CCO committee.

“Removing this layer of governance is forecast to save the ratepayer around $200,000 a year and establish a more direct line of reporting and accountability back to the council for continued oversight and commercial rigour.”

Mr Bayly will be the new chair of the CCO and ED Committee and Mayor Tripe will be the new deputy chair. The CCO and ED committee will be reduced in size from a committee of all councillors to a committee of seven, including the two independents, the Council confirmed.

As well as overseeing existing companies, the committee will advise the council on the strategic management of assets and new investment opportunities. The aim is to generate financial returns that can be put towards reducing the amount of rates, and to put strategic improvements in place to benefit the Whanganui community.

Mayor Tripe said that with the disestablishment of the Holdings board, it was important to create these independent roles so the committee has the necessary commercial acumen to successfully oversee the council’s commercial operations.

“Both Paul Bayly and Andrew Turner bring a breadth and depth of business experience to the committee and I have confidence that with their independent advice our commercial assets will be in good hands,” he said.

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