Leadership proven in both social and business enterprise

The Otago Daily Times continues its series of profiles of mayoral candidates. Fifteen people say they should be the next mayor of the various district and city councils in the wider Otago-Southland region. To help voters make informed decisions in the 2019 elections, we ask candidates who they are, what they stand for and how they would handle the big issues facing their district. Today, Mark Price puts the questions to the Queenstown Lakes district mayor Jim Boult.

Jim Boult.
Jim Boult.
Jim Boult

Age: 67.
Occupation: Mayor.
Council experience:  3 years as mayor.
Describe yourself in three words: Honest, loyal, committed.

What is the main task facing the council in the next three years?

Resolving the poor state of our infrastructure and the resulting congestion caused by decades of underspend by previous councils who did not address consistent district-wide growth in resident and visitor numbers. The fix will come from the excellent partnering we have now achieved with central government combined with the benefit of the visitor levy I have lobbied for.

How do you see the airport issue playing out over the next three years?

A clear, community-driven way forward will come from the completion of the social and economic impact assessments. These in turn will inform the district-wide spatial plan. No changes at either Queenstown or Wanaka Airports can happen before then. At present, circa 400,000 passenger movements at Queenstown Airport are Wanaka-based traffic. I do favour the reinstatement of regional services to Wanaka Airport to service those movements alone. Queenstown Airport will have additional capacity as a result and with a very moderate growth rate and a sharing of the load with other airports, such as Invercargill, there will be a sensible resolution to this.

What form of visitor levy is the best way forward and why?

I think it highly likely that short term, central government will begin the formal process towards the introduction of an accommodation-based visitor levy. This will comprise of 5% of the accommodation cost.

What are some of the other issues the council will need to focus on over the next three years?

Transport is another enormous issue my council will continue to tackle. The $2 bus has been an outstanding success. From 30,000 passengers per month, to 130,000. More can be done. Direct peak-time services between Lake Hayes Estate-Shotover Country to Queenstown CBD will happen. Public transport in Wanaka is a no-brainer and the $2 bus should be there. To achieve this, QLDC need to take control of the bus service. We understand it. ORC often don't. Longer term, we live in the most outstanding part of the world; why wouldn't we have an outstanding transport system to match?

Our unique and inspirational environment is a top priority. QLDC are consulting on our climate change plan at present, widely acknowledged as one of the best around. Environmental protection for the sake of our tamariki needs to happen now.

If we don't resolve the housing problem, I fear for our future. Our housing is the most expensive in New Zealand. My concern lies with the beating heart of our district, those who teach in schools, police our communities, provide care in health and work in construction and allied tasks, all of whom need a fairly priced place to live. The mayoral task force's ground-breaking initiatives in this area are leading to excellent outcomes. This work must be seen through.

Space restricts me from all we need to address, but take a look at my website, www.boultformayor.co.nz

What makes you think you are the best person for the job?

In 2016, I was elected by a landslide to address the issues then before our district. Some are resolved, some are in progress, while a solution looms for others. My leadership has been proven in both social and business enterprise. I was elected to make change, which I have done and I will continue to do. I'm straight-up - I say what I believe to be true. Leadership in a role which affects the daily lives of so many needs a tested track record. I have been, and will continue to be, a loyal servant of this district.

If elected, is there one thing you would like to be able to claim credit for at the next election?

I'm so proud of the Beyond 2050 Vision work that has been completed in conjunction with our community. It provides objectives in education, health, housing, transport, diversity and environmental protection that all future council decisions should align with. I want that vision, and its guardianship, to be my legacy.


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