Daughter eyes her mother's ORC seat

Ella Lawton and her late mother, Maggie. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Ella Lawton and her late mother, Maggie. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Ella Lawton will stand for the Otago Regional Council seat left vacant by the death of her mother, triggering a by-election for her Queenstown Lakes District Council seat.

Maggie Lawton died earlier this month after a short battle with cancer.

It was her dying wish her daughter fill her Dunstan ward seat.

Cr Lawton announced yesterday she would run in the by-election but would not officially submit her candidacy for another two or three weeks.

Under the Local Electoral Act a member of a local authority was not allowed to be a candidate in an election for a regional council, and vice-versa.

By delaying her candidacy she can continue her work as a district councillor.

A by-election for her Wanaka ward seat will be triggered once she resigns.

Nominations for the Dunstan seat on the ORC opened yesterday and close at noon on April 24.

Cr Lawton said her colleagues at the district council, including Mayor Jim Boult and chief executive Mike Theelen, supported her decision.

``I know this is the right thing to do and I totally believe my community will fully support me.''

The knowledge and skills she had learnt from being a district councillor, including as the deputy chairwoman of the planning and strategy committee and as a commissioner on the district plan review, would transfer easily to the regional council.

There needed to be a long-term science-based plan at the regional council to help build a strong and diverse local economy while still protecting the environment people loved, she said.

``This has been my focus on the Queenstown Lakes District Council, and a role I hope to bring to the Otago Regional Council.''

Cr Lawton said she had spoken to her mother about who she wanted to replace her on the council and they had talked about her standing, but not at length.

District councillor Michael Laws said Cr Lawton was the natural successor to her mother and he would support her candidacy.

``It would be fair to say there had been some persuasion placed on Ella to stand,'' he said.

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