Kinloch man Al Angus defended his position in the challenge
for the Queenstown Lakes mayoralty during a mayoral forum in
Mr Angus and the district's incumbent mayor Vanessa van Uden
both fielded questions at the forum, organised by the Otago
Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Otago Daily
Times and attended by about 30 members of the public.
Wanaka resident Malcolm Frith asked: ''Are you really a
serious candidate or are you the joker in the pack? And what
experience do you really have in local government,
particularly handling major budgets?''
Mr Angus said he had relevant attributes and skills.
''I'm just a common sense person that's had two or three
quite successful businesses in Queenstown and I've got fairly
good bulldust detectors,'' Mr Angus said.
Tensions flared when Wanaka resident Greg Marshall alleged Ms
van Uden had declared Wanaka full of ''whinging old people
and grannies'' at a recent function, before asking Ms van
Uden how she planned to ''deal with your bias'' against
Ms van Uden objected to Mr Marshall's ''antagonism'' and
emphatically denied making the comment.
''I have listened to Wanaka, I have worked with Wanaka, I
have responded to Wanaka,'' Ms van Uden said.
Other issues raised at the forum included the need for
ultra-fast broadband in Wanaka, whether Wanaka splitting from
QLDC and forming its own council was viable, and the
cost-effectiveness of building the proposed Wanaka sports
facility at Three Parks versus the showgrounds site.
At a second debate of Queenstown Lakes District Council
candidates at the Queenstown Memorial Centre last night,
Wakatipu ward candidate John Glover literally took a leap of
faith, falling from the stage, after sitting back in his
chair perched precariously on the edge.
Mr Glover had told the the audience of about 100 the council
''should be like a church'' with ''followers who believe in
what we're going'' and ''reach out to people and touch their
Council candidate Bryce Whiting spent the majority of his
60-second introduction encouraging people to vote for Cr Cath
Gilmour - who could not be present - praising her work on the
revamped Queenstown Memorial Centre.
The discussion covered various topics, including recent
issues between council and disgruntled Wanaka ratepayers.
Council candidate Craig Ferguson said: ''We've got a
wonderful opportunity to bring the two sides of the hill
together to work a bit harder to create that [amalgamated
The proposed Queenstown convention centre also proved a hot
topic, with several candidates speaking out in opposition of
a casino being attached to it.
They included Cr Mel Gazzard, who said putting a casino with
the centre would create ''a very ugly environment'', Cr
Trevor Tattersfield who described it as a ''red herring'' and
first-time candidate Angus Welsh, the council's former
management accountant, who said if the convention centre was
unable to operate without having a casino attached ''then it
shouldn't be here''.
• The ODT/Chamber of Commerce Central Otago mayoral
forums take place today in Cromwell at noon, in the Otago
Polytechnic's Molyneux Restaurant, and at Alexandra at
5.30pm, at the Centennial Court Motor Inn.