Fri, Apr 26, 2024 1:02 PM

NZ Army chief promises to lead Marlborough council with same energy


Maia Hart

John Boswell has thought “long and hard” about his new job.

He knows that chief executive of Marlborough council is “clearly one that matters."

John, who’s held the position of Chief of Army since 2018, has promised to bring the same “energy, commitment, and professionalism” to Marlborough that he tried to exhibit over his time with the army.

“There's no doubt about it, it's been an absolute honour to have been in the New Zealand Army for 40 years, but I will bring that same sense of loyalty and service to the council and people of Marlborough.”

He told Local Democracy Reporting, speaking on the phone from Wellington in his first interview since landing the job, that looking in “from the outside” the Marlborough District Council looked to be well led, well structured and had sound management.

John will start at the council offices on August 1. Photo: Supplied/Stuff

“I think it's a really well-run, really well-functioning council, and it's my role coming in to build on the success that they've had,” John said.

“That's not to say they haven't had the challenges, because they have.

“But there are some really, really cool opportunities in Marlborough which the council needs to play an appropriate role in allowing to be optimised and have every chance of success.”

He said he and his wife were looking forward to relocating and establishing themselves in Marlborough.

“I've had a great military career and I've thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to serve, and it's an incredible honour to have been the chief.

“But it's now time for me to move on to the next chapter.

“I am excited and I am energised by the opportunity of taking over this role and serving the community and the council to the very, very best of my ability. I'm really looking forward to it.”

He said he had talked with a number of mayors during the recruitment process throughout New Zealand.

“I’m gaining a better understanding everyday on how local government works and how different regions are adjusting to what is an incredibly dynamic environment at the moment,” he said.

“It's right that the council continues to look to core capabilities and requirements first.

“Things like roads, around water, around rubbish, before exploring other opportunities for the community.

“But equally, the council's got to be comfortable engaging interest groups throughout the community, to gain their perspective and to better understand not just the opportunities that do exist, but what the community wants and the direction they wish the council to travel.”

PHOTO 3: Marlborough District Council chief executive Mark Wheeler announced his retirement in October last year. Photo: Supplied/LDR

Outgoing chief executive Mark Wheeler announced in October last year that he would be stepping down from the role in 2024 after more than two decades working for the council.

Marlborough mayor Nadine Taylor said last week the council received 46 applications for the role from candidates all around New Zealand.

She said John's vision, strategic thinking, leadership skills and extensive experience of running a large, complex, people-focused organisation impressed them straight away.

“He also has a good knowledge of Marlborough’s issues and opportunities and how local government works,” Nadine said.

Defence Minister Judith Collins on Monday last month thanked Boswell for his 40 years of service with the army.

“I would like to thank Major General Boswell for his contribution to the Army and the wider New Zealand Defence Force, undertaking many different roles during his time,” she said.

John would see out the remainder of his term, leaving on June 9, and start with the council on August 1.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ on Air.

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