The Gore District Council for the 2022-25 term who were sworn in last month are (from left) Robert (Caveman) McKenzie, Keith Hovell, Paul McPhail, Bronwyn Reid, Joe Stringer, Glenys Dickson, Mayor Ben Bell, Neville Phillips, Richard McPhail, deputy mayor Stewart MacDonnell, Bret Highsted, and John Gardyne. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The Gore District mayor’s new committee structure is on ice after concerns were raised by councillors and staff.

Mayor Ben Bell’s plan to establish five councillor portfolios and replace the previous council’s three-committee structure with six was due to be discussed and implemented at the first full council meeting last Tuesday. However, it was tabled for next month’s meeting on December 13.

In his report, Mr Bell had proposed six permanent committees, five of which differed from the previous council’s.

While the audit/risk committee would be retained, the capital works and community strategy committees would not.

Instead, committees would be established for finance/ performance, assets/ infrastructure, policy/ planning, cultural innovation and community wellbeing.

Mr Bell intended to make deputy mayor, Cr Stewart MacDonell, chair of both the finance and performance and audit and risk committees.

Cr John Gardyne would also chair two committees — assets/infrastructure and policy/planning, while Cr Glenys Dickson would chair the cultural innovation committee and Cr Richard McPhail the community wellbeing committee.

For most of the other councillors, they would sit on some committees and be given a portfolio.

Cr Joe Stringer would be responsible for roading, Cr Bronwyn Reid for recycling, Cr Neville Phillips for Three Waters, Cr Paul McPhail for youth engagement and Cr Keith Hovell for efficiency.

Cr Bret Highsted and Cr Robert McKenzie were neither assigned a portfolio nor made chair of a committee. The assets/infrastructure and finance/performance committees would each have one mana whenua representative, while two would sit on the creative community committee and six on the cultural innovation committee.

There would also be one independent representative seat on the audit/risk, assets/infrastructure and finance/performance committees.

Mr Bell told The Ensign after last week’s council meeting it was tabled because he wanted to get the structure right.

‘‘I wanted to get something on paper, but with the concerns raised by councillors and also staff, we just wanted to give ourselves more time.’’

Resourcing, costs and incoming reforms were still factors that needed to be considered, he said.

‘‘[Also] we are waiting on a report from the council… which will give us a bit of an idea of where the council’s actually at.’’

Cr Bret Highsted expressed concern that there was not a committee structure in place yet.

‘‘For example, in the last few days, the [official] cash rate’s moved. Committees need to be able to deal with that, but they’re not in place yet.

‘‘You could assume from that, the [committee] structure and terms of reference was not fit for purpose for the majority of the council.’’

The new committee structure will be discussed at the next full council meeting.