Don’t forget to vote Queenstown

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Voter turnout in the Wakatipu is at a woeful 29 per cent.

Just 2906 residents of the 10,190 sent voting documents have returned them for the Queenstown-Wakatipu ward. In 2010, turnout ended up bang on 50 per cent.

It was 22 per cent on Tuesday, jumping sharply by 700 votes to 29 per cent yesterday. Voters have till Saturday – and can cast their vote at Queenstown or Wanaka libraries between 9am and noon – to choose candidates for six seats in the ward.

Arrowtown councillor Lex Perkins has already secured his spot – he was unopposed. But those in his ward still get to vote for Otago Regional Council, Southern District Health Board seats and the mayoralty.

Mayoral incumbent Vanessa van Uden, gunning for term two, says 29 per cent is sad: “This is the chance the community has to have a say on people they want to represent them. With the privilege of a democracy comes responsibility to vote.”

Results are expected on Saturday – Van Uden plans to be in Glenorchy for a friend’s birthday.

Van Uden makes no assumptions she’ll win but likes to think she’s done enough in the campaign and delivering on 2010 promises to trim fat and ease debt.

Asked for her priority if she wins, she says: “Getting whoever is around that table working together. Getting structures organised – and people understanding where we’re going as fast as we can.

“We’ve made really good progress this term and got a lot of stuff done and I don’t want to lose that impetus.”