First up, congratulations to Sally Feinerman and Sarah Browne for their success in being elected to council, and congratulations also to my returning councillors and the successful community board candidates.
And a sincere thanks to everyone who bravely put up their hands for office, and also to the people who voted — sadly, we are in the minority.
It is going to be a challenging three-year term.
I go into it acutely aware that we don’t know what we don’t know.
At the start of the last local government term, we were only a matter of weeks from a virus appearing in Wuhan that would change everything, so all plans are made recognising the crystal ball was always a dodgy device and remains murky as I look forward from today.
There are many parts to the mayoral role and one of the crucial ones is to lead the long-term plan; setting the direction for the way ahead.
My intention at this stage for the 2024-2027 LTP is for it to be a business-as-usual, back-to-basics plan.
My first two LTPs have been ambitious, setting off the biggest capital works programmes in council’s history.
Some of those are near completion (Lake Dunstan water supply and Clyde wastewater) while others are still to get shovels in the ground (the Cromwell hall and mall, Riverside Park, the Omakau hub).
Outside of that, we very much need to get on top of the problem we have with ageing bridges and to get our museum strategy finalised.
In other words, there is plenty to go on with.
I mentioned murkiness already and the reform process makes predicting the future very difficult.
At present, the Three Waters reforms are going ahead, with legislation about to pass Parliament, so we have to work within that context.
However, the Opposition says it will repeal that law next year, so we have to consider that, too.
For my money, if elected, the Opposition will repeal parts or all of the Labour plan but will replace it with something that will still see councils across the country not controlling their Three Waters infrastructure.
But as Covid taught us, who knows what the future holds.
When Three Waters is a third of your business, though, you can imagine the uncertainty the situation creates.
We also have the RMA reforms, which will have their own effect on the business, as well as the Future for Local Government reforms, which will almost certainly mean either the council itself will be very different or its role will be — or both — come the 2025 election.
In that uncertainty, I believe the prudent course is ‘‘steady as she goes’’, getting what we have started finished and building a platform for the next council to work from.