Far North District Council appoints new CEO

Published on 16 December 2021

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Far North District Council has selected the former head of Tararua District Council to become its new Chief Executive.

Blair King was raised in the Kaipara and served for several years as an Engineer at Kaipara District Council. He then became General Manager of Lakes Engineering, a Queenstown and Lakes District Council CCO. In October 2020, he completed 12 years as CEO of Tararua District Council. He has since spent three months as interim CEO of Carterton District Council and worked as a Civil Engineer for a Dannevirke company, Kingston Infrastructure Limited. He is a Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng), Justice of the Peace, volunteer fire officer and Engineer with the New Zealand Urban Search and Rescue Taskforce.

Mr King will replace Shaun Clarke ONZM, who was appointed Chief Executive of Far North District Council in 2017 on a three-year contract. This was extended by a further two years and ends in March 2022.

Far North Deputy Mayor Ann Court says numerous applications for the CEO position were received from experienced and high-calibre candidates, both from within and outside the organisation. However, she says the selection panel could not ignore Mr King’s considerable local government experience, particularly with a council that shares similar challenges to those experienced in the Far North.

“Like the Far North, Tararua is reliant on its rural economy, has a small ratepayer base and must maintain spatially dispersed core assets and services to keep its remote communities connected. Blair is familiar with Northland and I believe his extensive local government experience will prove to be a great asset for the Far North.”

She says the Council acknowledge and thank the many achievements of outgoing CEO, Shaun Clarke. “Shaun has proved to be an inspirational leader, a great communicator and someone focused on helping those with opposing views find common ground to work from. He has been instrumental in transforming Council operations and has helped Elected Members steer the organisation through significant challenges, including a major drought, the COVID-19 pandemic and on-going uncertainty over changes to the local government sector.”

She says Mr Clarke will continue in his role until Mr King takes over the role at the end of March 2022.