Queenstown mayor’s husband appointed Lakes Environmental boss

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The husband of Queenstown’s mayor has been appointed as temporary boss of a soon-to-be defunct organisation.

Peter Laurenson is now acting chief executive of council-controlled organisation Lakes Environmental Ltd (LE).

Laurensen replaces Hamish Dobbie, after council’s decision to disestablish the organisation as part of an organisational review.

Council boss Adam Feeley says while there is the potential for conflict of interest, LE building manager Laurenson is the right man for the job.

“The organisational review proposes no changes to LE’s Building Services team while significant changes are proposed for other areas,” Feeley says.

“This enables Peter to focus more freely on the wider implications of the transition.”

Mayor Vanessa van Uden removed herself from any discussion about Dobbie’s successor when it became clear he would resign, about a fortnight ago.

Van Uden was not part of the final board meeting where the appointment was confirmed and says she learnt about it from her husband.

As acting chief executive, Laurenson will oversee the transition of work and staff back into the council.

The appointment follows completion of transition arrangements for the LE board, which includes the appointment of council chief financial officer Stewart Burns to the board.

LE chairman Anne Urlwin and directors Nick Brown, Jeffery Brown and Mike Coburn resigned on Friday as agreed to enable council to put in arrangements to wind down the business of LE and transfer responsibilities back inhouse.

“They together represent a highly skilled board, and the district has been very fortunate to have enjoyed directors of their calibre,” Feeley says.

“At all times throughout this process the board has acted with professionalism and integrity and I’d like to thank them for a highly co-operative approach.”

Burns joins van Uden and Feeley, already appointed as interim directors. The trio were also appointed directors of Lakes Leisure, which is also being wound down.

“A comprehensive plan is now in place to ensure a speedy integration of both LE and Lakes Leisure with a minimum of disruption,” Feeley says.