Queenstown PR pioneer up for council


New Queenstown council candidate Alexa Forbes is adamant she’s not standing on any particular platform despite “extremely green” beliefs.

Forbes – who works part-time for both Otago Polytech­nic’s Centre for Sustainable Practice and the council-led Shaping Our Future forum – says she’s always been very green but doesn’t want to be categorised that way.

“I did a graduate diploma in sustainable practice last year but I see sustainable practice not as ‘green’, I see it as a future necessity.

“Often people think we’re sort of hippies running around in the backyard naked, but it’s not just about that – sustainability is across everything we do.”

Forbes, 53, says that after selling out of Southern PR last year, “one of the things on my list to tick off was to stand for council”.

“I wanted to stand for council because I think that I really understand the community.

“I’ve been here a long time and across many different jobs and many different volunteer roles,” she says.

Forbes, raised in the Waikato, moved permanently to Queenstown in her late 20s in 1988 after a music residency.

Since then, she’s been a Mountain Scene sales representative, a radio announcer, and public relations consultant.

Forbes has also had voluntary roles with Creative Queenstown and the Bruce Grant Youth Trust.

Forbes adds: “As I’ve seen the success of the Shaping Our Future process, I really think a future focus will be a really good idea for the town.

“And there’s a lot of fresh wind blowing through the council chambers so it’s a good time.”

Forbes says she supports mayor Vanessa van Uden: “I like her no-nonsense approach and her ‘future’ focus.”

Forbes is joined in the council race so far by former health board member Fiona McArthur and radio jock .

Meanwhile, one-term Queenstown councillor Russell Mawhinney is standing down to focus on his legal practice and family and personal life.

“My partners at Preston Russell have been supportive over the past three years but it’s time for me to focus more on my clients as well as certain personal goals that I’m not getting to at the moment.

“Plus life in the Mawhinney household is busy, and that’s the top priority.”

Mawhinney, who says his council work’s been very rewarding, believes the role of councillors will become clearer with chief executive Adam Feeley in place and the organisational review bedding in.

“If I’ve had a frustration, it’s that we have at times spent too much time under the bonnet on some things that the staff should be doing.”