Weight of expectation on new council team

The hard work of being elected is done — the harder work of satisfying community expectation has begun.

Five new faces will sit around Jim Boult’s council table, including four in the six-person Queenstown-Wakatipu ward.

New councillor John MacDonald, a former Destination Queenstown chairman, said the election result showed a mood for change.

"I think it’s great because I think we’ve got a good team.

"When we were out on the hustings and doing the public forums there was clearly a lot of frustration and even, at some of them, sheer anger about the growing pains we’ve got, and I think the mood is to sort it out.

"But I don’t think there’s a two-minute fix — you’ve got to get that planning right.

"It appears to me that there just hasn’t been planning for the projected tourism growth or the projected population growth and you’ve got to sort that out so we can provide the infrastructure that’s actually needed."

Tony Hill, a former executive secretary of the Lakes District Air Rescue Trust, is another new face.

He called it the icing on the cake to be the top-rating candidate, receiving 3258 votes in provisional results released on Saturday.

"It’s a big job and I’m not underestimating that. We just need to get some rungs on the ladder pretty quickly."

Ex-hotelier Penny Clark was one of the hardest-working candidates, going door-to-door to houses and businesses, and was humbled and excited to be elected.

"We need a new focus and we’ve got to try and get some action."

Alexa Forbes, elected to a second term, said the council had a mandate to try to sort out what she called the loss of community and environmental amenity — things like transport congestion, affordable housing and better management of the environment.

She believes the relationships with the Otago Regional Council, New Zealand Transport Agency and central Government are crucial.

Another second-term councillor, Craig "Ferg" Ferguson, said: "This will be a council under huge pressure to deliver."

Merv Aoake was disappointed not to be re-elected.

He did not know whether he and Simon Stamers-Smith were the victims of community frustration.

Wanaka’s Ross McRobie, a former Wanaka Community Board member, has been elected to the council, taking the place of former deputy mayor Lyal Cocks, who failed in a mayoral bid.

He joins sitting councillors Calum MacLeod and Ella Lawton.Arrowtown’s Scott Stevens was elected unopposed.

Council communications manager Michele Poole said the council was hoping for a declared result by the end of the week and an inaugural meeting on October 20, subject to confirmation.

"Under the Local Government Act, the new council takes office from the day of the declaration but can’t act until members have been sworn in at the inaugural meeting."


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