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Senior leadership team

The senior leadership team consists of four group managers who are responsible for one out of four departments within Council.

Chief Executive Officer

The Chief Executive Officer is appointed to manage Council operations and lead Council's senior leadership team. 

Simon Pickford
Chief Executive Officer

Simon brings over two decades of local government experience to Buller District Council, with a rich background in various council functions, including customer and regulatory services, community development, libraries, IT, corporate strategy, and policy.

His expertise is further complemented by his role as General Manager of Community Services at Dunedin City Council, where, over nine years, he not only led community services but also gained significant emergency management experience, notably during the 2015 South Dunedin floods.

Simon has a strong track record of building meaningful relationships with communities, mana whenua, partners, and stakeholders, aligning projects and services with council strategies to fulfil the council's vision.

His open and collaborative leadership approach and his ability to develop high-performing teams make him a significant addition to the executive team.

Outside of work he enjoys spending time with family, road trips around Aotearoa and collecting way too many vinyl records.

Simon joined Buller District Council as Chief Executive Officer on 25 March 2024.

Council's departments

Infrastructure Services

The Infrastructure department is responsible for asset management, operation, and implementation of Council operated infrastructure across the district. The department controls all activities associated with roading, water, sewerage, stormwater and solid waste.


Mike was born in New Zealand and raised in the Bay of Plenty before moving to Australia. Having completed tertiary qualifications in engineering, a career in project management followed major infrastructure construction around the world. After gaining senior leadership experience in the private sector, Mike then moved into local government delivering significant asset maintenance, renewal and upgrade programmes in NSW before moving to Buller in 2016. With a passion for organisational development and continuous improvement, Mike brings a wide range of skills, knowledge and strategic thinking to the role of Group Manager.

Community Services

The community services department is responsible for the provision of services at Council facilities such as service centres, libraries and recreation facilities. The management of communication activities, overseeing Council’s properties such as parks, reserves and halls, developing community and economic development strategies and policy falls within the responsibility of this department.


Krissy grew up in Kent, England before moving to New Zealand in 2012. She moved straight to Westport where she settled down with her family. Having worked as branch manager in banking overseas, she quickly slotted into senior services and bank management roles on the West Coast. She brings more than 10-years of leadership experience and a passion for great customer service to her role.

Regulatory Services

Regulatory Services is responsible for the building and planning departments of Council as well as activities relating to compliance such as alcohol licencing and animal control. The department also oversees civil defence activities for our district.


Nathan was in Queensland, Australia, and had a notable career in the Australian private sector and New Zealand's public service.

Before joining Council, he held significant roles at Clutha District Council as Manager of Planning and Regulatory Services and the Department of Conservation, leading regulatory teams across the South Island.

His expertise in regulatory services and town planning is instrumental in steering Buller District Council’s regulatory functions towards new heights of success. His diverse background and commitment to community service align perfectly with council's values and vision.

Commercial and Corporate Services

The Commercial and Corporate Services department is responsible for financial and rating activities, governance and elections, internal IT support and information management. The department also oversees the management of Council operated ventures such as the Westport Port and Airport.


With an extensive financial and corporate management background, Paul brings a wealth of experience and strategic insight to the role. He is a chartered accountant and a member of the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand. 

Born and raised in New Zealand, Paul has had a distinguished career across various sectors, including local government, health services, and community organisations. Before joining Council, he held significant roles such as General Manager of Corporate Services at Mackenzie District Council, Finance and Commercial Manager at Kaikoura District Council, and General Manager of Corporate Services at Richmond Services Ltd. 

His extensive experience, strategic vision, and commitment to community service align perfectly with Council's values and goals. His appointment in June 2024 marks the beginning of a new chapter for Council's corporate services. 

His leadership brings innovative solutions and a proactive approach to the challenges and opportunities for our community.