The Queenstown mayor’s husband has revealed why he suddenly left his long-time council manager’s job.
Peter Laurenson (right), husband of mayor Vanessa van Uden, tendered his resignation as building services manager in early September after more than 12 years managing the department.
Laurenson, who’s taken up a six-month management contract in Wellington with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), says he had frustrations with his immediate superior, then planning and building boss Marc Bretherton.
“I encountered some problems that I couldn’t solve.
“Some of the things that I believed needed to be addressed from the building perspective, didn’t get the attention I think they needed.”
Ironically, Bretherton resigned only about two weeks after Laurenson’s resignation to take a role with local developer Winton Partners.
Laurenson admits he might have stayed on if Bretherton had left earlier.
“Oh, yeah, it is a possibility, to be quite frank.”
However he says he’s very happy with his new role as MBIE’s acting manager for building system controls.
He oversees teams looking at both building compliance and consenting issues.
“I am really hugely grateful for the huge learning opportunity given to me from the wonderful team of people in the council building team and especially the late Brian Robertson, who introduced me to the whole building code and regulations.
“Given all the comments and submissions we made over the years up the line to the Department of Building and Housing and now MBIE about how things should be improved, I think he would be particularly chuffed that there is now a fella about my size running the ship nationally”
Laurenson - who’s renting an apartment four minutes’ walk from work - says he’s trying to pop back to Queenstown at least every second weekend.
Asked about whether he’d be able to support the mayor’s civic duties, like a traditional ‘mayoress’, he says: “On the big things I’d arrange to get back – but there’s a lot of things during the week that I wouldn’t be able to get to.”
After his contract expires, he says there’s a chance the role might be available full-time, and he’d have the opportunity to apply.
His wife stands down from the mayoralty at next October’s election.
Meanwhile, Laurenson believes council boss Adam Feeley’s reported comment, on his resignation last month, that he was bored with the job, and specifically potholes, was inappropriate.
“Those are the things that council needs to deliver, and it is really important to recognise the values and skills of people.”