Robson returns to Tauranga City Council

John Robson will be sworn in as a councillor on Monday. Photo: Ryan Wood.

He might have lost his seat after one term in 2016, but former Tauranga city councillor John Robson has been given a second chance by voters after winning the recent by-election.

As the successful candidate from a field of 20, John will be sworn in at an extraordinary council meeting on Monday. After that, he intends to get to work.

“The big thing is, can we move these numbers [proposed rate increases] between now and signing off the Long Term Plan? I believe I’ve been elected because a number of people want to see that happen.”

Current councillors Steve Morris and Rick Curach both publicly supported John’s bid for council and he says he’ll be working alongside them to make sure there are changes to the Long Term Plan.

To begin with, he’s not a supporter of the museum as it stands.

“I’ve made it pretty clear I’m totally against the proposed $55 million museum on Cliff Road. It’s a matter of prioritisation. We have some things we need to do as a city, and some of the arguments for a museum just don’t wash. It’s not a great economic stimulus, and we don’t need to attract people to this city.”

He says our roads are “grinding to a halt” and the issues with the city’s recycling need to be addressed.

“The idea we need to pander to tourism is not at the top of my agenda. Promising large buildings and telling people we can finance them without touching the ratepayer is a fantasy. We need to focus on successfully managing a growing city. That means the water, the roads, and the basics. Let’s see where we are once those are under control.”

Nearest rival Mark Wassung, who was significantly ahead of the other candidates and only a few hundred votes short of winning, believes the result shows there are two kinds of voter in Tauranga.

“There’s clearly a divide in this city, between people who want to be strategic and progressive and plan for a future, and the camp that wants to shut down everything and go back to the past.”

He says he first ran to be a councillor in 2016, and exceeded his own expectations in coming sixth out of the at large candidates back then.

“I think this time the big field of candidates split the vote – if I’d picked up votes from other candidates I might have nailed it. But that’s life.”

Although he didn’t win, Mark says the result has buoyed him, and he plans to run again in 2019.

“I’m upbeat about it. I’ll continue to do work with all three councils and the community.”

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questions for Robin Bell

Posted on 08-05-2018 13:04 | By CC8

Are you actually a Tauranga City landowner and ratepayer, and do you actually live and work in Tauranga City? If your answer is yes to both, and as you say you would put yourself up against others ( in particular in this instance ,Narek/Karen) why have we never seen you put yourself forward as a candidate for Tauranga City Council?

Museum supporters are also doers karen,

Posted on 07-05-2018 12:35 | By R. Bell

In fact I would put myself up against you any day. To my knowledge no supporter has asked for any reduction in roading upgrades. The answer to your problem is not in more and bigger roads, it is in better use of vehicles and more efficient use of roads. There is no pot, councils world wide work on the principle of inter-generational borrowing, to spread the load. If you insist on using current income be prepared for massive rate increases regardless of a museum or not. Robin Bell.


Posted on 07-05-2018 08:00 | By Lvdw

Yes John, I voted for you. You have promised to do something about our roads, so lets see if you live up to your promise. Join us at the TCC building on the 10th May at 7pm to hear the Welcome Bay Transport Forum submission to the TCC Long Term Plan. Listen to what your community is saying.

The dreamers v the doers

Posted on 06-05-2018 18:10 | By nerak

Or I could say the wants and the needs. The dreamers want a museum, the doers want better infrastructure, as do ratepayers. What good is a museum, said by dreamers to bring huge numbers, if roading will not cope with extra traffic? So the dreamers would build their dream, and then demand the roading leading to it is improved? The doers would improve the roading and other infrastructure, then see if there is money in the pot to spend on less major improvements to the city. But there is a massive elephant in the room right now. Bella Vista. It seems likely that we ratepayers will end up paying some way to this debacle, and I would expect that many items on the Council agenda will take a back seat to this until headway is made. Not anti/pro museum, just practical.


Posted on 06-05-2018 14:43 | By

Agree with Mark’s comment - it is never a good look to re-elect people who have been there before - going nowhere. Next time Mark.

Robson to Council

Posted on 06-05-2018 13:18 | By Val.M

A good choice. I like his vision - is much more realistic for where we are at. It nice to have sky in the pie faculties, but who pays for them. We do. And is hard enough now for so many who do not get the big wages of certain sectors. - that is okay, but please remember councillors - not all can keep shelling out for nice to have extras. And they would be nice to have, But - isnt it more important to get our basics right first?


Posted on 06-05-2018 12:34 | By waiknot

Hi Mark your comment people who want to be strategic and progressive and plan for a future, I assume includes you and go back to the past is John Robson. I find it arrogant. My take on John is he is very strategic and wants progress. But where I see you differ is, John is also fiscally aware. Progressing with pet projects with a cavalier attitude to costs will sink the city. People often compare Dunedin to Tauranga as cities with similar populations. There are a few differences, Dunedin did not grow at the speed of Tauranga, and his developed its facilities over a much longer time frame. Secondly Dunedin is the centre fo a much larger rural area with Christchurch some distance away, this justifies the need for certain facilities. Tauranga with Rotorua, Hamilton and even Auckland relatively close would be building in many cases competing facilities..

Good man!

Posted on 06-05-2018 12:23 | By morepork

Glad I voted for him. Now let’s see if I still feel that way in a year’s time...