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Time for a change: Outgoing Queenstown mayor Jim Boult and mayoress, Karen, at their Lake Hayes home yesterday

By TRACEY ROXBURGH

‘‘IT’S time to move on.’’

After almost six years leading the Queenstown-Lakes, mayor Jim Boult’s announced he’s not seeking a third term.

The 70-year-old tells Mountain Scene he’s a believer that ‘‘good leaders understand that they’re there for a period, they’re there to do the best they can and, at a point in time, move on’’.

Boult says the decision hasn’t been an easy one to make and has been to-ing and fro-ing since Christmas following a family conflab with wife, Karen, son, James, and daughter, Victoria.

Looking back on his two terms, he says there are many highlights, but front of mind’s been the way the district’s navigated the Covid crisis and the work behind the scenes to get support for the community at large, and particularly migrant workers.

He’s also ‘‘delighted’’ with the work done to relieve housing pressure and believes the past two terms have solidified Queenstown-Lakes ‘‘on the map with New Zealand Inc and the government’’, which now recognises the major part the district plays in NZ’s economy.

His biggest disappointment’s not getting the long-mooted visitor levy across the line.

Boult says after years of work, there was ‘‘full support across the district’’ for a levy, to help relieve the financial burden placed on infrastructure by visitors, and agreement was reached with government to in troduce legislation into the House.

But Covid put a stop to all of it.

Boult’s also copped his fair share of public criticism, but he says that’s not been a factor in his decision.

‘‘It doesn’t really affect me, overall.

‘‘As you know, sometimes I sometimes get messages in the middle of the night, so that’s difficult.

‘‘But if you know you’re doing the right thing in your heart of hearts, then you live with
criticism and get on with it.’’

‘I’ve enjoyed practically every moment’

Looking ahead, he says he plans to put more energy into his personal
businesses — a commercial asset financing company and two ‘‘significant’’ equipment
hire businesses — which he’s neglected while holding the office of the mayor.

He says he’ll probably also take a bigger role in the Child Cancer Foundation, an  organisation he’s been involved with for more than 30 years, and ‘‘I might travel now
that we’re allowed to’’.

Very proud of his council: Outgoing Queenstown mayor Jim Boult. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH

Asked if he’s got any advice for whomever steps into his shoes, Boult says front of mind must be the ‘‘greater good of the entire district’’.

‘‘Sometimes what you need to do is maybe something that doesn’t sit particularly well with you, personally, but you’ve got to get over that and do what’s right for the district.’’

He says he’s had a ‘‘marvellous time’’ in the role, worked with ‘‘wonderful’’ people inside
and outside council and has enjoyed ‘‘practically every moment of it’’.

‘‘I’ll miss the cut and thrust of council meetings — I look at our council and I think it’s
been a very effective and busy one and I know that our council is the envy of many around NZ.

‘‘But I think the time is now right for me to move on.’’

tracey.roxburgh@scene.co.nz