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Published: 2016-10-20 00:00:00

Alan Livingston has today been elected chair of Waikato Regional Council.

Cr Livingston – a fomer Waipa mayor and a second term regional councillor – was co-chair of the council-iwi Healthy Rivers Wai Ora committee in the last council term.

His election – against his sole opponent Cr Hugh Vercoe – came by a nine to five majority at today’s first meeting of the 2016-2019 council term following the October local body elections.

Both Cr Livingston and Cr Vercoe expressed their respect for each other during their comments before a vote was taken.

Cr Vercoe said the pair had been mates for a long time and “if Alan’s elected we’ll be mates tomorrow”. He was quick to congratulate Cr Livingston with a “well done” and a handshake after the vote.

After being sworn in as chair, Cr Livingston said the fact that Cr Vercoe was being supportive of his election following the vote bode well for an effective council over the next three years.

“It’s up to us all to make it work for our council and the region.”

He said he looked forward to meeting with councillors individually to discuss their interest in roles during the forthcoming term.

Meanwhile, Ngā Hau e Whā constituency councillor Tipa Mahuta was unanimously re-elected as deputy chair.

Cr Livingston said after the meeting that he would be putting a very strong focus on effective teamwork between all councillors.

“I’m committed to working constructively with all councillors on advancing the best interests of our region. We have a talented team around the table – including three other former mayors – and I believe we will be able to work together very effectively.”