Deputy mayor Lyal Cocks is launching a bid for the Queenstown Lakes’ top political job.
A year out from the local elections, he’s throwing his hat in the ring to replace mayor Vanessa van Uden - who doesn’t intend to stand again.
Perhaps in a bid to appeal to Queenstowners, the Wanaka councillor’s making the announcement in Mountain Scene.
Cocks says: “I’m standing because I believe I have the knowledge, experience and leadership ability to do the job well.
“I think it’s really important for our community to have someone with experience - we’re one of the most prosperous districts in the country and I’d like to see that continue.
“Obviously that comes with its own challenges in terms of social impact, affordable housing and such, but we’re working on that and I’d like to continue that work.”
Cocks, 59, a married father-of-two, is one of the most experienced local pollies around.
He’s been full-time deputy mayor since 2010 and was elected to council back in 2007. He’s now in his third term, and spent three years from 2004-7 on Wanaka’s community board.
The former Royal NZ Navy reservist previously owned and operated an accommodation lodge, restaurant and driving school.
Cocks is the council’s infrastructure portfolio manager and he acts as a Resource Management Act commissioner.
He’s also a member of the district licensing committee, the events funding panel, and represents the council on the regional transport committee, at Wanaka Airport, and the Makarora Community Association. Cocks would be the district’s first Wanaka-based mayor.
But he says he’d increase the already considerable time he spends in Queenstown if he wins.
“It’s not so much a matter of a Wanaka versus Queenstown thing - we’re all one district.”
Glenorchy man Al Angus has already signalled his intention to run for a second time.
Angus, so far the only other candidate, was thrashed by Van Uden in 2013 when she won the chains for a second term.