Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden, centre, celebrates
with husband Pete Laurenson and daughter Caitlin (18) at
their home on Saturday night. Absent is the couple's other
daughter, Laura. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
While the champagne corks were popping at Queenstown
Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden's home on Saturday night after a
successful election campaign, Ms van Uden is making it clear
from the outset she will not be seeking a third term.
''This is my last term.
''You can underline and bold the 'is'.
''I know it sounds really weird, having just been elected ...
but people need to know it is ... someone, somewhere, somehow
has to step up to the plate.
''This is not something you can do at the last minute.''
Ms van Uden was re-elected by a comfortable margin, beating
the only other mayoral candidate, Glenorchy's Al Angus, by
more than 4500 votes.
Mr Angus could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Like many of her councillors, Ms van Uden was also concerned
at the low voter turnout. Despite a last-minute rush on
voting when 912 votes were received across the district by
noon on Saturday, just 44.9% of voting papers were returned.
Ms van Uden believed that was partly to do with the
''election style'' and it was time the district looked at
online voting, or a return to election-day polls.
The 46-year-old said the new council was a ''mixed group''
and voters had elected a good cross- section of the community
to represent them for the next three years.
However, she was disappointed with the loss of Wanaka
councillors Jude Battson and Leigh Overton, who were replaced
in the Wanaka ward by Calum MacLeod and Ella Lawton.
''Leigh has been a long-serving councillor that has a huge
knowledge of the district plan ... and resource management.
''He's got a really good knowledge and understanding, and
that will be missed around the table.
''Jude just brought a practical, common-sense voice of the
people. I will miss her.''
The new council would be sworn in on October 25, at a special
ceremony at Lake Hayes, and it had several challenges to deal
with in the immediate future.
Those included the proposed Queenstown convention centre,
ensuring the council-wide organisational review fulfilled its
aims, and - potentially the most important and simultaneously
most difficult - unifying the district.
''Bring on the next three years,'' Ms van Uden said.
''We've got lots to do. I'm really keen to get on and do