The new Arrowtown ward councillor Scott Stevens sets the scene for his truncated term in office
MS: As a newbie how long before your training wheels come off?
Stevens: Training wheels are a safety net I have never felt the need for. If you trip, you fall, you get back up. That’s the best way to learn. I had councillor conduct training on Tuesday, a meeting with the CEO yesterday and then straight into it. I need to hit the ground running coming in mid-term.
MS: What mandate do you have from the people of Arrowtown?
Stevens: I think the solid voter turnout and my convincing majority gives me a strong mandate to represent Arrowtown. Arrowtown have sent a clear message they want dedicated local representation and now it’s my responsibility to deliver.
MS: Where do you stand on Special Housing Areas, considering how many are in and around Arrowtown?
Stevens: I am not anti-development, however I believe all development in and around Arrowtown should be judged on whether or not it adds to, or detracts, from the special character of Arrowtown. That’s not just SHAs but proposed medium density in-filling and all other development proposals in and around Arrowtown.
MS: Did you ask for the council to hold back consideration of SHAs until the byelection was over? If so, do you consider that your first win?
Stevens: I did not directly ask the council to hold back, but I did encourage concerned representative groups like the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association and the Arrowtown Village Association to make that request. So not a win for me personally but a definite win for Arrowtown’s right to be represented when these decisions are made.
MS: You’ve stated your opposition to the council-backed convention centre – how do you intend to show that around the council table?
Stevens: Let me clarify here, I have never stated my categorical opposition to the convention centre. I have said I oppose a proposal that carries a significant burden for the residential ratepayers of this district. I am eager to see a business model that stacks up without significant residential ratepayer contributions. Only then can I make a well-informed decision.
MS: What single thing do you hope to achieve before the next election?
Stevens: I am a representative of the Queenstown Lakes district, but I was voted in by the people of Arrowtown and if I am to single out one goal to achieve in the next 16 months, it is to make a difference in Arrowtown first and foremost.
MS: Given you intend to stand again, what’s the record you hope to achieve so Arrowtowners will re-elect you?
Stevens: I stood for election promising to advocate strongly for the Arrowtown ward. If I cannot get Queenstown’s council onside with Arrowtown’s vision for itself then I would have failed and wouldn’t even vote for myself let alone expect my neighbours to vote for me.