Thursday, May 19, 2022

Russ Rimmington ousted as Waikato Regional Council chair

Barry Quayle will chair the Waikato Regional Council after a majority of councillors backed the removal of Russ Rimmington from the top spot.

Barry Quayle will chair the Waikato Regional Council after a majority of councillors backed the removal of Russ Rimmington from the top spot.

An extraordinary meeting of council was called on May 9 following a request by eight councillors was delivered on April 17 to deal with matters associated with the role of the chair.

While there was recognition of the extensive contribution made by Rimmington to the Hamilton and wider Waikato communities over a number of years during the meeting, some councillors were concerned about the culture among the governance arm and that the council was not being well represented on a number of matters.

In a vote of 8-6, a motion to remove Rimmington as chair was passed. 

Rimmington said it was disappointing but democracy has spoken. 

He indicated there could be a judicial review of the decision. 

Quayle was then voted as new chairman in a 11-3 vote.

Kataraina Hodge – who chaired the majority of the meeting after Rimmington declared a conflict of interest – remains as the deputy chair of the council.

Quayle said that decision-making would be unaffected by the leadership change.

“It is important going forward that this council acts as one and that we have cohesion. 

“I am confident that all 14 councillors will be able to continue to respectfully and robustly discuss issues affecting the region and make decisions that are in the best interests of the Waikato.”

“It is important going forward that this council acts as one and that we have cohesion.”

Barry Quayle
Waikato Regional Council

Councillors have demonstrated that despite at times having divergent individual views, they can engage in full and frank discussions and make big decisions, he said.

“That’s been evident with matters like the 10-year budget, our position on local government and three waters reform, our covid-19 response, public transport, and most recently the management of pests in our region.

“While there’s just a few months left in this term of council, there’s plenty more work to be done. The coastal plan review is just one example of that – we’ll be working hard and closely with staff to ensure iwi, stakeholder and community views have been taken account ahead of notification.”

He acknowledged the valuable and passionate contribution Rimmington had made as chair.

“I am certain he will continue to represent the best interests of his Hamilton constituents and the wider region over the remaining months of this triennium.”

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