OPINION: Standing for council is a privilege and a huge responsibility.
People often ask what your views are on this subject or that and fair enough, but the reality is that council should serve the community and you must be able to focus on what is best for all.
It is hugely important that councillors keep an open mind on all issues and make sure they have all the best information with which to make decisions on your behalf.
I am putting myself forward to offer a balanced voice at the table.
I have lived in Queenstown for more than 30 years, raising a family and being in business. I believe I understand the pressures of growth and change and have seen successive councils struggle to plan for and deliver infrastructure to cater for these pressures.
Council must engage with the community and understand where we all want to go. I don’t see growth in tourism as the problem. The problem is our failure to plan and provide for it. This should never be at a cost to the environment and most businesses are very responsible and minimise their footprint wherever possible.
Much is being made of the airport and its intentions and the effect these might have on the wellbeing of our community. It is important that, while the airport does have its obligations to cater for future growth and provide a quality service to its customers, it should not be driving in a direction at odds with the community.
Rather than the Statement of Intent being the major issue, I believe the answer lies in having a robust District Plan. This is where the boundaries are set for all operators and developers alike. The Statement of Intent cannot override this.
It is vital that our council shows strong leadership and gives clear direction. It is totally unacceptable to be dealing with long-term issues with a short-term perspective. We must look ahead 30 to 50 years and decide what we want our region to look like and what we need to do to provide for that vision.
We live in a magnificent environment and there should be no compromise to it. That doesn’t mean we can’t still manage growth. That might involve resetting some of the objectives around numbers of people to achieve better value. Steady growth, not unbridled growth.