Race for council table begins

Bowing out: Ross McRobie

Queenstown’s mayor is staying mum on whether he’ll take another tilt at the top job, but there’ll be at least one new face at the council table come election time.

Two incumbent councillors, John MacDonald and Quentin Smith, tell Mountain Scene they’re standing again for the Queenstown and Wanaka wards, respectively.

But first-term Wanaka councillor Ross McRobie’s bowing out, announcing he’s moving to Otematata and will seek election to the Waitaki District Council instead.

Nominations for local government elections open on July 19, with election day pegged for October 12.

McRobie is the first to take his name out of the running, saying yesterday he would be moving out of the district in October.

“I was a newcomer to local government and have no regrets about the decision to stand for council. I still have a lot to offer in seeing out the remainder of the term and am committed to giving it 100 per cent until my final day.”

Meanwhile, councillor Scott Stevens isn’t sure if he’ll have a ward to stand for.

The decision on whether to retain the Arrowtown ward, albeit a slightly larger one, rests with the Local Government Commissioner due to the size of the ward being non-compliant with Local Electoral Act rules for fair representation.

Stevens says that decision’s due in April, and that’s when he’ll make his own decision about running again.

Councillors Alexa Forbes, Craig Ferguson, and Tony Hill say they’re yet to make up their minds, while councillors Penny Clark and Val Miller, and deputy mayor Calum MacLeod didn’t respond to requests for comment.

But mayor Jim Boult’s staying tight-lipped about his council future, saying he has “nothing to say at this time”.

Boult won the mayoralty in a landslide victory in 2016, with 6050 votes.

His closest challenger was Lyal Cocks at a distant second, with 2644 votes.

But he may face scrutiny this year, with legal action over his directorship of Stonewood Homes hanging over his head. He denies all allegations.

The next step in the case is a teleconference next Thursday.