Mayor says grow up and adapt

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Queenstown businesses and the wider community need to “grow up” in order to adapt for the future, according to mayor Vanessa van Uden. 

Speaking to residents and businesspeople at a special Otago Polytechnic panel discussion last Friday, Van Uden says people need to work together amongst themselves rather than complain to Queenstown Lakes District Council about problems. 

“We have got to look and find our own answers,” she urged. 

“Don’t let the problem become someone else’s. Try to solve it yourself. 

“If you complain to council then all we’re going to do is put a whole lot of rules in place that you end up having to pay to have enforced.” 

Politicians also need to grow up and look ahead to the big picture instead of concentrating on doing things just to be elected every three years, she says. 

“Queenstown has to grow up to the fact that the world is not just about Queenstown. The Queens­town Lakes district has to grow up to know that we need Auckland and New Zealand needs to grow up to the fact that we need Australia [to improve economically]. 

“The building blocks are there for the future but we all need to mature to close the gaps.” 

The discussion centred on the question ‘Are we fit for the future?’ and also featured talks by local public relations expert Alexa Forbes and Chamber of Commerce board member and Mountain Scene publisher Richard Thomas. 

Forbes echoed Van Uden’s sentiment, saying steps towards positive change involve people getting to know their neighbours and immediate communities. 

Thomas says businesses need to keep up with fast-evolving technology to ensure economic survival. 

“Some businesses are very good at this but some aren’t, which leads to the question, ‘How much business are they missing?’”