Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s incumbent mayor has officially put up his hand to contest the mayoralty in the 2019 elections.
Garry Webber officially launched his campaign today asking his community to “Re-elect Proven Leadership with Integrity”.
The theme was chosen by Garry to reflect the way he has approached his mayoral duties.
“I have always been community focused and I’ve proven to the ratepayers of the Western Bay that I listen first and act second - and when I act, it’s for the greater good or the significant majority."
Reflecting on his track record since becoming Mayor in 2016, Garry points to the improved financial performance of Council as being a stand-out, something he attributes to the business acumen he has developed over many years in senior management positions nationally and abroad.
“Our community wanted us to get our debt under control, so we could have more headroom to be agile and responsive to community needs.
“The result of my leadership focus has seen Council debt reduce to $98.3 million, a decrease of over 25 per cent since 2010, and according to Standard and Poor’s, we are one of the very few councils in Australia and New Zealand that has improved its Credit Rating in recent times.
“I have also built strong relationships with Central Government who we rely on for major infrastructure funding, and also neighbouring councils who are critical for support."
Many of the major strategic projects that Garry has championed remain as unfinished business for him and he acknowledges that these have spurred his decision to re-stand.
“I have worked tirelessly to fight for our roads, lobbying for improvements to State Highway 2, plus I’ve been a strong voice for the Omokoroa interchange, the Tauriko interchange and the Katikati bypass,” he said.
“It would be disappointing personally, and bad for the community at large if that pressure was not maintained.”
The rates rebate scheme is another project that represents unfinished business for Garry.
“I have lobbied vigorously for both the rebate and income thresholds to be changed so that low and fixed income households get some rates assistance."
With nearly three years completed as Mayor, both Webber and wife Carole know that the role requires time, energy and passion, which they have in spades.
“We love our district and we want to see it grow and prosper so that people can have exceptional lifestyles here.
“Just like many others, we have built great networks in the Western Bay, and it’s an area that we’re proud to live in and call home.”