Hayes hat in ring gives Queenstown a mayoral race (with video)

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Queenstown real estate agent Simon Hayes has announced he’ll stand for mayor and councillor at this year’s elections. 

At a press conference today, the former deputy mayor says he’s received a “constant stream of requests” to contest the district’s leadership. 

Hayes, a community stalwart and 2010 Queenstown Lion of the Year, wants Queenstown Lakes District Council to deliver “better and more cost-effective” outcomes. 

“Councils are by their very nature monopolistic but must find ways to change their modus operandi as I find annual rates increases in excess of Consumer Price Index, and in the order of 8 per cent, unpalatable and unacceptable,” he says. 

Hayes opposes the way the sale of 24.99 percent of Queenstown Airport to Auckland International Airport Limited was handled. 

“I have no doubt there are some benefits of a strengthened balance sheet. But could this have been achieved by other means? 

“The ‘promised’ $10 million windfall was clearly misunderstood by some and has added confusion to the situation. Most of the councillors were simply ambushed and had no opportunity to question the merits of the agreement.” 

QLDC’s ballooning debt also concerns Hayes. 

“Debt is now around $100m and was projected to quadruple by 2019 in the 10-year plan…Stronger action to control our expenditure and obtain more competitive contract rates was and is needed.” 

Hayes says if he’s not elected as mayor in the October 9 election he’d “welcome” a vote on as councillor.
 
The scope of his current job as a Harcourts agent is still to be decided if elected. 

“Put it this way – I’m not actively looking for any new work in real estate at the moment.” 

Currently, the only other declared mayoral candidate is incumbent councillor Vanessa van Uden. 

Nominations close next Friday.