New Plymouth Mayor to get adviser, ex Mayor: "He doesn't need it"

Wednesday 2 April 2014, 12:16PM
By NP Linked Taranaki


Other Taranaki mayors say they don't need to follow New Plymouth counterpart Andrew Judd and employ an adviser.

Judd is advertising for a top-level adviser, to be paid between $89,000 to $105,767, saying a 2012 legislative change altered the role of a town's mayor.

The creation of the new role may have raised eyebrows around the district as the new council looks to cut costs in its upcoming annual plan deliberations.

Taranaki's other mayors say they already have enough people giving them advice.

South Taranaki District Mayor Ross Dunlop said he got a lot of advice from councillors, the community and council staff, so he didn't see the need to have someone else on the payroll to advise him.

"There are all sorts of people out there giving me advice."

Stratford District Mayor Neil Volzke said hiring an adviser wasn't something he had thought about.

"We believe we have sufficient staff to offer any advice that is required."

He was always getting advice from the community, he said.

"And they offer it for free."

Former New Plymouth mayor Peter Tennent, who had the top job for nine years, said he had 105,000 people giving him advice.

But the job was 24 hours a day, seven days a week, he said.

"There are so many fabulous ideas coming out of this place."

Tennent said he respected Judd's decision, but he got so much "fabulous advice and support" from people that he didn't have any need for a personal adviser.

New Plymouth District councillor Len Houwers said news of the role had come as a surprise.

"I question whether a different approach might not have worked better."

There were council officers and the chief executive, so the new role was a duplication, he said.

Also, the position advertised was for someone who had experience in local government, so the person wouldn't be giving independent advice.

"[He'll] just be getting the same advice in stereo."

Councillor Keith Allum said the council's role was governance and hiring a personal adviser was a matter of detail.

"Our job is to set the budget and that needs to be met. How she [chief executive Barbara McKerrow] spends the budget is up to her."

The mayor and chief executive had the authority to appoint an adviser, they didn't need to consult anyone about it.

"They decided it was necessary, whatever we think about it."

The important thing was the long-term plan, Allum said.

"It is vital that people decide what they want and whether they are prepared to pay for it."


Taranaki Daily News have created a poll asking if the Mayor should get a senior advisor, and the people have spoken. 

Over 800 votes say that Mayor Andrew Judd should not get an advisor, while a small 200 say he should.

This shows that over 70% of the New Plymouth population believes Andrew Judd shouldn't in fact get an adviser, but hes going ahead. 

Ex Mayor Harry Duynhoven made no comment.