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Published: 2009-12-23 00:00:00

Vaughan Payne has been appointed as the new policy and transport group manager at Environment Waikato.

Mr Payne, 43, currently the chief executive at Opotiki District Council in the Bay of Plenty, is due to take up his new post at EW in March next year.

Of Ngai Tai and Whakatohea descent, Mr Payne worked in both public and private sector planning and environmental roles before joining Opotiki District Council in 2003 as environment and planning manager. He became the council’s CEO in 2005.

He said that over the past five years at Opotiki District Council it had been satisfying to help one of the country’s smallest local authorities implement a strategic direction that would address long-standing social deprivation issues and position the district as a world leader in aquaculture.

"I look forward to working with all stakeholders in the Waikato in my new role to help develop the region’s economy and infrastructure, while ensuring that the natural resource base we depend on is protected and enhanced," said Mr Payne.

"Waikato’s agriculture and transport infrastructure in particular are very important to the health of the national economy so it is critical we get things right.

"I’m also looking forward to contributing to the way EW works in with the new Waikato River co-management arrangements involving iwi."