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Olivia Wensley (37) said it was time for her generation to step up and make decisions "that affect us and our kids".
Mrs Wensley is the second person to put their hat in the ring for the October elections.
Former Southland Labour candidate Jon Mitchell declared his bid last month, in the same week incumbent Jim Boult announced he was standing down.
Married with two children, aged 5 and 3, Mrs Wensley was chief executive of Startup Queenstown Lakes Trust, which fosters technology start-ups.
However, she was best known as a former lawyer who blew the whistle on sexual harassment in the legal profession, becoming the de facto founder of New Zealand’s #MeToo movement.
"... I will speak up and stand up for what I think is right, and I’m a passionate advocate, whether it’s women’s rights or equal opportunities," she said.
"I firmly believe I will be a great advocate for Queenstown because I’m doing it already.
"I’m already meeting with ministers. I’m already saying, ‘this is the vision’."
Mrs Wensley said she was familiar with local government through Startup and her time working as a lawyer.
- Philip Chandler