Confidence in van Uden

. Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden starts work today, after her decisive victory in the...
. Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden starts work today, after her decisive victory in the local body elections on Saturday. Photo by James Beech.
New Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden has been welcomed by her predecessors, the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce and Destination Queenstown.

Outgoing mayor Clive Geddes, who did not seek a fourth term, declined to comment on the results, or wish to offer his advice to the next mayor, when asked in advance on Friday.

However, he did say he congratulated all candidates who were elected and wished them well for the future.

He also thanked those who stood for the election but did not win, because it was important the community had a choice.

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chairman Alistair Porter yesterday said Ms van Uden very much deserved to win.

"She's worked hard in council and the community and her campaign and I think people are confident Vanessa will be a strongly inclusive mayor and takes a team approach to solving the town's problems.

Mr Porter said returning councillor Cath Gilmour deserved special mention.

There were reasons why she was the highest-polling candidate, with 3355 votes.

"She's a very hard-working councillor, very strong on community, good thinker and she stands up for her views, whether they're popular or not. I think the town has respected that," he said.

Mr Porter said he welcomed the "new blood" of Crs Russell Mawhinney, Simon Stamers-Smith and Trevor Tattersfield.

He was sure "worthy" mayoral candidate Simon Hayes would have been elected to the council if he had stood, Mr Porter said.

He said he hoped Arrowtown candidate Simon Spark, who narrowly lost to Cr Lex Perkins, would stand again as he had "youth and enthusiasm" on his side.

Mr Porter said he wished the new council well.

"The mix of experience, age and gender is good and the chamber looks forward to working with them even more closely in the future."

Former mayor John Davies, in office from 1983 to 1989, said he hoped the new council would become more commercial.

"I had one piece of advice for my councillors. Any councillor can spend money. Good councillors know how to control cost and run the place effectively."

Destination Queenstown marketing general manager Graham Budd said "DQ congratulates Ms van Uden on her win and we look forward to building a strong working relationship with her."

Ms van Uden is the first female mayor of the Queenstown Lakes district.

She won a decisive victory with 5087 votes, more than twice as many as nearest rival Mr Hayes, with 2315 votes, and fellow challenger Michael Scott, with 943 votes.



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