A Queenstown councillor has broken ranks to slam his council’s decision to retain the Arrowtown electoral ward.
Councillor Russell Mawhinney (pictured right) labels it a poor decision that entrenches parochialism.
Mayor Vanessa van Uden used her casting vote at a council meeting two weeks ago to retain the one-councillor Arrowtown ward after councillors were split five-all.
Submitters, mostly from Arrowtown, had strongly favoured keeping the ward after the Queenstown council recommended abolishing it and replacing it with a community board, as part of a six-yearly representation review.
Arrowtown’s councillor Lex Perkins publicly stated it was imperative the status quo remained to guarantee the town had representation at the council table.
Mawhinney, however, believes Arrowtown should have been included in the Wakatipu ward.
“People in Arrowtown should be able to vote for more than just one councillor,” Mawhinney says.
“I can’t see why – if they’ve got the solidarity out there they say they have – that they wouldn’t be able to get at least one person on council. I just think it kind of entrenches parochialism.
“When we get on council, we’re supposed to be thinking about the best interests of the whole district.
“And, let’s face it, we’re all interested in Arrowtown.”
Although 230 submissions, or over 90 per cent, favoured retaining the ward, Mawhinney doesn’t believe it’s a true reflection of what Arrowtowners think.