Mayor’s hands off over hubby

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Queenstown’s mayor is adamant she’ll have no say in council restructuring involving her husband’s job. 

Mayor Vanessa van Uden has a personal connection to the unsettling staff review sweeping through Queens-town Lakes District Council – hubby Peter Laurenson is the long-serving building manager of regulatory body Lakes Environmental. 

Council has decided to disestablish Lakes Environ-mental, a Council Con-trolled Organisation (CCO). 

The roles of staff like Laurenson are to be brought in-house under council. 

The council made the decision last week, also disestablishing leisure and venues CCO Lakes Leisure, which prompted the resignation of the entire Lakes Leisure board. 

Van Uden confirms final decisions on staffing will be the domain of council chief executive Adam Feeley. 

“There’ll be no interference from me on that whatsoever,” Van Uden says. 

“There’s no doubt the outcome could have a personal effect on my family but we knew that going in.” 

Van Uden adds: “It isn’t hollow words when I say I understand it and that we’re trying to do this as painlessly as possible because we realise there are very stressed people out there.” 

Laurenson wouldn’t comment on the restructure, other than: “Like the rest, I’m open to the next phase of information.” 

With Lakes Environ­mental’s and Lakes Leisure’s functions being brought in-house, recommendations on a new single structure are expected next Tuesday. 

Van Uden said last week it’ll make council more efficient, saving time and money – whilst a CCO staffer predicted a brain drain from Queenstown.