'I've got the experience': New mayoral candidate Glyn Lewers

The first councillor to join the Queenstown Lakes mayoral race believes his indepth council
knowledge is ‘‘critical’’ for the role.

First-term Frankton-based councillor Glyn Lewers, a structural engineer who’s also a community volunteer and Destination Queenstown board member, is the third contender to replace outgoing mayor Jim Boult.

Former Southland Labour candidate Jon Mitchell declared his hand in April while Startup Queenstown Lakes chief executive Olivia Wensley joined the contest last week.

Lewers, 44, feels his council experience, spanning all four committees, is crucial because so
far only two councillors have said they’ll run again, out of 11 council seats.

‘‘You cannot come into council new and run that from day one because council is such a
complex beast.

‘‘In my corporate life as an engineer, I managed multi-million dollar budgets for complex infrastructure projects — from budgeting, forecasting, implementing, through to delivering the results.

‘‘Now, more than ever, we need someone with experience and knowledge of how our money is spent, to lead our district through this unprecedented time.’’

Lewers says he’d like to see council exercise more financial discipline around estimating, forecasting and ‘‘getting work done a little bit more efficiently’’.

On the protracted Queenstown CBD streetscaping project, he has two issues — ‘‘the communication to the business owners has been less than exemplary, and I feel we can
tighten up the work programme’’.

However, he says his biggest priority would be improving ‘‘social infrastructure’’.

‘‘I’ve coached Wakatipu junior rugby for the last six years, and now the Wakatipu High under-14s, and the fields and the facilities are not up to scratch.

‘‘And it’s not just facilities, it’s community hubs and halls.’’

That mirrors Lewers’ concern, due to Covid, ‘‘council sort of lost touch with its community
because of the lack of a physical connection’’.

‘‘If you look at everywhere in the district, the feelings towards local government have gone
down, and I attribute that to [the fact] we haven’t been out in amongst the community.’’

The former Frankton Community Association chair, for five years, and father of 13- and nine-year-old boys, says ‘‘I am actively living many of our district’s daily issues, and I am always listening’’.

He also supports diversifying Queenstown’s tourism-dependent economy, ‘‘to build resilience’’, and, as a DQ board member, fully backs its emphasis on ‘‘regenerative’’, or sustain able, tourism.

‘‘We can’t go back to where we were in 2019.’’

Lewers won’t hedge his bets and re-stand for council — ‘‘it’s all or nothing’’.

The election’s taking place October 8.