Warkworth representative elected Rodney Local Board chair

The inaugural meeting was held in the Puhoi Centennial Hall.

Warkworth representative Beth Houlbrooke is the new chair of the Rodney Local Board.

She was elected at the Board’s inaugural meeting in Puhoi last week, while Kumeu representative Phelan Pirrie was elected deputy chair.

The pair are both members of the Rodney First political ticket, which secured five positions on the nine-member Board at last month’s election.

The chair position was contested by former chair Brenda Steele, who was nominated by Wellsford representative Colin Smith and seconded by Warkworth representative Tessa Berger, but the nomination only secured three votes.

Mr Pirrie was elected unopposed.

In her acceptance speech, Ms Houlbrooke said Rodney faced large challenges, with a lack of infrastructure and massive residential growth, and the Board needed to work together to make progress.

She said North Rodney had been neglected and ignored, and issues with road sealing and planning for growth needed to be addressed.

“We want services that are comparable with the rest of Auckland,” Ms Houlbrooke said.

“I know all of the Board members are keen to work together on these issues for all of Rodney.

“We will work closely with our Councillor to make sure Rodney is heard.”

The new Board and Councillor had the experience and relationships to lobby hard on behalf of Rodney, she said, pointing out that incoming Councillor Greg Sayers had served a term on the Rodney Local Board, while recently elected Board member Cameron Brewer had served two terms as Orakei Councillor.

Mayor Phil Goff attended the event, which was the first inaugural local board meeting in Auckland.

He said the large number of unsealed roads in Rodney was an issue and Council needed to move beyond its urban-centric focus.

“There’s a feeling Council is dominated by urban councillors that don’t understand the rural part of the city. But now both the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, Bill Cashmore, live on tank water and have septic tanks,” Mayor Goff said.

He said other issues like the “Hill Road” intersection needed to be tackled.

The first Local Board business meeting will be held at the Orewa Service Centre on Thursday November 17 at 2pm.