2013 Tauranga Election

The following information provided by John Robson for the 2013 Tauranga Election.


Wrong Decisions

Graham Mourie, the great All Black captain, once said that leadership is not about being popular - it is about making the right decisions.

The rapid growth of Tauranga over the last decade provided an opportunity to create real wealth for Tauranga - but the opportunity was squandered.

Instead, the Mayor and Councillors of Tauranga made a series of wrong decisions - often against expert advice (e.g. Route K), against the wishes of the Community (e.g. the Mount Hot Pools redevelopment), or against common sense (e.g. believing the Smartgrowth population forecasts, not charging developers 'cost of capital').

It is the collective effect of these poor decisions that has created our debt.

Which leads to the next question - why all the wrong decisions?

You will often hear Councillors (and others who have little or no insight) blaming the TCC staff.

But in my considerable experience, whenever organisations or industries are struggling, the problem is almost always the quality of the leadership.

Tauranga is no different.

The problems in Tauranga are simply the result of the fact that the people who put themselves forward, and who were elected to lead the city, are not up to it!

A city, even a very small one like Tauranga, is complex, and successfully leading it requires significantly more than just common sense and good intentions.

A New Zealand Herald article recently noted that "there aren't many jobs where someone with no financial knowledge or experience can walk in off the street and find themselves managing a multi-million-dollar budget. But being a councillor is one of them."

Councillors are not required to have any qualifications or credentials beyond the ability to win an election.

Massey University local government specialist Dr Andy Asquith is quoted as saying "The majority of councillors in New Zealand have trouble putting their shoes on the right feet in the morning. They get elected simply because they are known. It's not unusual for someone to one day be reading the weather on television and the next to be on the local council with no knowledge of what council is about."

Now, while electing leaders that can put the right shoe on the right foot (and the left shoe on the left foot) would be an improvement, I think we need to aim a little higher.

Tauranga needs to elect leaders that have the ability to make the promise of Tauranga a reality.


  • Whether working with the CEOs and Boards of client companies, heading high-powered consultancy teams, or in the role of Executive Director, John has a track record of successful leadership.


This website is authorised by John Robson, 22 Sunny Downs Drive, Tauriko, Tauranga, 3110 - e-mail john@clearthink.net or call 021 443703.