Whangarei Mayor-elect Morris Cutforth wants the district council to be known for a culture of openness.
Mr Cutforth has defeated incumbent Stan Semenoff by 2500 votes.
Mr Semenoff was criticised for holding five minute council meetings and accused of stifling discussion.
Mr Cutforth says he wants to encourage debate and public participation in council affairs.
He says he knows he is a political novice, but he will be taking advice from Whangarei District Council's experienced staff, councillors and the community.