By KERRIE WATERWORTH
Former Queenstown councillor John MacDonald says he misses ‘‘the team’’ and knowing
what’s happening in great detail in the district, but ‘‘I do not miss reading pages and pages of meeting notes’’.
MacDonald, elected to the Queenstown-Wakatipu ward in 2016, resigned on March 9, effective immediately, to better manage his Parkinson’s condition.
Before the start of last month’s full council meeting, in Wanaka, Queenstown mayor
Jim Boult paid tribute to MacDonald for his work on the council, mental health and, particularly, affordable housing.
‘‘When you and I were elected in 2016 we both saw the need to do something serious about the cost of housing in this district, and the availability of housing for folk working in the district at a reasonable cost,’’ Boult said.
‘‘Today we went out and had a look at the (Wanaka) Hikuwai subdivision Secure Home development and that is a fitting testament to a lot of work you have put in to the housing
taskforce, and in your work with the housing trust since that time.’’
During his four years as a councillor MacDonald was one of the designated liaison officers on the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust.
Trust chair Andrew Blair says MacDonald’s made an extremely important and valuable contribution, particularly in his role of chairing the mayoral forum on housing.
‘‘Out of it came a new funding model, our Secure Home model, and your support and advocacy for that and your contribution to developing that model must be clearly acknowledged.’’
Secure Home’s a leasehold model, whereby the housing trust retains ownership of the property and the household pur chases the right to occupy the home.
The land’s leased back to the occupants on a 100-year term, with a below-market rent, adjusted annually with inflation.
MacDonald says being a councillor’s “not an easy job”.
‘‘But I got involved here because I was frustrated with nothing happening five years ago … and joined Jim and the can-do council and, luckily for me, I got the job of chairing the mayoral housing forum on affordable housing.
‘‘I have to say that was one of the most rewarding parts of the time I have had on the council as I do really feel that we have made some headway there and there is a legacy there that I do think will last a long time.’’
Boult presented MacDonald with a certificate and photo of his fellow councillors and said he was ‘‘enormously sad’’ he had resigned and said he’ll be greatly missed.