Twelve months into his role as Otago Regional Council chief
executive, Peter Bodeker has been impressed with the
balanced approach of the council and its staff. Photo by
Any apprehension Peter Bodeker may have had about leaving
the primary sector for an organisation perceived as ''green''
has been put to rest in the past year.
The Otago Regional Council chief executive has been in the
job for 12 months and has been impressed at the balanced
approach taken by the staff and council to resource
management versus economic sustainability.
While the council had been criticised in some quarters as not
considering the economic impact of its decisions, he believed
the council did, although he thought it could be done more
The council's encouragement of community irrigation projects
was an example of that, as it produced a strong economic
benefit for the region.
However, that was not at the expense of the environment as
the council had on its staff some of the best ecologists and
hydrologists in the country, who were passionate about
protecting Otago's environment, he said.
''The balance is there.''
In the past month, Mr Bodeker had brought in a management
''I took my time, 12 months, to make sure it was done once,
and it was done right.''
Now he would look at the accommodation issue the council had
been battling with for years.
Overcrowding had been alleviated by the new council chamber
building, leaving conditions he described as ''not the worst
I've seen'' but not ideal.
He would not comment on rumours about the proposed waterfront
hotel using the council's empty Kitchener St site or any
joint venture rumours, but confirmed no formal approach had
been made for the site.
''They've not come knocking.''
Other challenges ahead included implementing water quality
and quantity plan changes, finding the council's role on
issues such as wilding pines and investigating more effective
rabbit control and river management, he said.
A community global consent process was being trialled for
river management with the Kakanui and Kauru river groups and
if it worked it could be replicated around the region.
Being able to meet the Government's air quality standards was
another challenge the council was struggling with.
It was talking to the Government about appropriate standards
for some towns when cost and a lack of heating options was
holding people back, Mr Bodeker said.
Overall, he had appreciated being able to get out into the
''What I've enjoyed most is engaging with ratepayers.
"I'm mindful the urban communities of Dunedin and Queenstown
don't have a lot to do with us; it's the nature of our
The council's new stakeholder directorship would look at
social media and other approaches to communicate with