We need to regain trust: Cull

Dunedin Mayor-elect Dave Cull and wife Joan Wilson celebrate at home on the Otago Peninsula after...
Dunedin Mayor-elect Dave Cull and wife Joan Wilson celebrate at home on the Otago Peninsula after hearing the news of his victory on Saturday night. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
The winds of change could be about to sweep through the offices of the Dunedin City Council, with Mayor-elect Dave Cull convinced the community's demand for change led to his win on Saturday.

"I didn't get the mandate I did to keep things that same as they are," he said yesterday.

He also said it was possible some decided issues could come back for reconsideration, the rerouting of Lovelock Ave one raised yesterday.

Mr Cull won with a convincing 22,832 votes after single transferable voting (STV) was taken into account, compared with outgoing mayor Peter Chin's 14,453.

At a barbecue at his Portobello Rd home on Saturday, surrounded by family and Greater Dunedin colleagues, Mr Cull said his initial reaction was "relief".

Now, though, there was the "challenge" of a new council.

Once he has shifted what he yesterday described as a small collection of belongings to the mayor's office on the second floor of the Civic Centre, his next job would be to consider who would be the deputy mayor and who would head committees.

That would involve discussion and negotiation with councillors: he wanted to be sure they would be approved by the council.

The inaugural meeting of the council would be on October 26, and his recommendations for deputy and chairmen and women would go before a council vote at that meeting.

"Between now and then, the big challenge is to consult with councillors."

Asked if he was comfortable with the level of ability at his disposal, he said the community had voted for the council it had got.

"My job is to lead it as a team so we get the maximum benefit for the community from it."

Mr Cull said the incoming council had the choice of "doing things the way we always have done", or making changes to the five committees that do the bulk of the council's decision-making.

"I have hopeful outcomes in mind.

"I'm tossing around a number of models which might best achieve those outcomes."

That could mean merging some, or making changes to the staff that reported to them.

On making changes to decisions that had been taken, such as Lovelock Ave, Mr Cull said the mandate he had been given meant he could draw the council's attention to those issues.

That would be done in the context of reviewing all the council's assets and debts.

"I have a number of reviews in mind," he said.

Mr Cull said another of his jobs as mayor would be to engage more constructively with citizens.

"We need to regain the trust of the community," he said.

Asked how he planned to do that, he said he wanted to have more regular interaction with the community through the media.

While he was still considering the issue, his initial idea was for a more regular and open forum with the media, perhaps with committee chairs and senior staff involved.

- david.loughrey@odt.co.nz


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