Part-time Glenorchy mechanic Alistair ‘Al’ Angus is a spur-of-the-moment contender for Queenstown’s mayoralty.
“I went down there to stand for council and seen there was no [mayoralty] opposition and I don’t think that’s particularly democratic,” Angus says.
“So I thought, well, people need a choice. I just really feel it’s time a few commoners had a bit of a go [on council],” Angus says.
Mountain Scene is “quite wrong” to say nobody knows him, Angus reckons, in reference to a scene.co.nz headline ‘Queenstown mayor faces 11th-hour challenge … from Al who?’
“A lot of people know me,” he says, adding his mayoralty bid was “initially a bit tongue in cheek”.
“But I cannot believe the amount of people who are coming up to me after [media coverage] and really throwing their support into it.”
Angus says he’s not very well informed on council affairs but reveals he was unhappy with recent dealings at City Hall, saying they left him “reasonably negative”.
Angus won’t say exactly what happened and won’t “slag” council members – “They did as well as they knew how”.
The surprise mayoral aspirant puts his age at “under 60” and is married with eight grown-up children, including step-children.
Angus says he’s “not particularly” a churchgoer but is a teetotaller and cites his core values as “a bit of common sense and honesty”.
Angus says he’s standing for change but won’t specify what needs changing – other than the council not having any “allegiance” with casino giant SkyCity Entertainment Group on a proposed convention centre.
Incumbent cost-cutting mayor Vanessa van Uden won’t respond directly to the Angus challenge, saying only:
“The focus of the past three years has been on making Queenstown-Lakes a great place to live, work and play for everyone who chooses to make it their home or to visit.
“I remain committed to achieving that outcome,” Van Uden says.
Meanwhile, Queenstown’s incoming council has its first councillor – despite elections still being almost two months away.
Sitting councillor Lex Perkins has been re-elected unopposed in the Arrowtown ward.
Perkins says he’s grateful but unhappy, after last year campaigning to retain the ward from a proposal to abolish it.
“[Being elected unopposed] takes away people’s democratic right to vote – I’d rather have seen two or three people stand.”
Perkins will skip pre-election meetings with questions from the floor: “[But] that’s a pretty good process to go through.”
The two big issues next term will be sewerage and the convention centre, Perkins believes.
The Arrowtown councillor says he’s a staunch supporter of Van Uden and is very surprised Angus is standing against her.
“I can’t understand why he’s done that, actually.”