Queenstown mayor bucks tradition with her deputy


Queenstown’s re-elected mayor Vanessa van Uden has bucked tradition with her choice for deputy.
Van Uden, re-elected in a landslide win last weekend against greenhorn opponent Al Angus, reappointed Wanaka councillor Lyal Cocks as deputy mayor, the council’s website says. 

Traditionally the deputy has been the highest-polling Wanaka councillor – Cocks came second this time around to newbie Calum MacLeod. 

Van Uden hinted she’d buck tradition in Mountain Scene on Thursday, saying the best person for the job would get it. 

The other candidate to express interest in the role was highest-polling Queenstown-Wakatipu ward councillor Cath Gilmour, who won a third-term on council. 

Van Uden says she carefully considered all three and Cocks represents Wanaka and Upper Clutha very well. 

“The role of deputy mayor also requires a district-wide perspective and my experience is that Lyal is able to take the wider view as well as advocating for his local constituency. 

“The working relationship between the mayor and deputy mayor is very important, and experience plus understanding of local issues are also significant factors. Taking all of these considerations into account, I have appointed Lyal as my deputy,” Van Uden says at qldc.govt.nz. 

Cocks has been a councillor since 2007 and is also the immediate past chair of the Wanaka Community Board. 

In last week’s Mountain Scene, Van Uden also said she wanted to create a new audit and risk committee – under new local government powers she is able to elect committee chairs too. 

However, her council can overrule her.