Culture call: Queenstown's MP Hamish Walker, left, hosted fellow National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, in Queenstown this week

Queenstown’s New Zealand’s most ethnically diverse town, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the candidates standing for Saturday’s council elections.

Auckland-based National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi highlighted this sorry state of affairs while visiting the resort this week.

Parliament’s first Indian Sikh MP, he notes that close to half of Queenstown’s population comes from abroad, citing the likes of Europeans, Brazilians, Filipinos and Indians.

“They are contributing to the economy in every field.

“Wherever you go, you will find these people are working hard, making sure they look after the people who are visiting.”

However, he says not one local council candidate represents any migrant com-munity.

“Look at Parliament now, we have five MPs from Asia.”

Echoing those comments, local National MP Hamish Walker says: “Queenstown is now very diverse, that’s what makes Queenstown so special, but we need more members from our migrant communities to stand for these decision-making roles.”


No paper trail

Queenstown’s council has no idea how many voting papers have actually been delivered and does not keep a record of enquiries about missing papers.

Only 36.01 per cent of the 23,490 registered electors had voted by Wednesday evening, compared to 42.26 per cent the same day in 2016.

Several people have told Mountain Scene they’ve not received papers from New Zealand Post.

Bob Cranfield, of Frankton-Ladies Mile, didn’t receive them and knows of lots of other cases.

“What concerns me is, if NZ Post is struggling with deliveries, what happens when you post the completed papers?”

Electoral officer Jane Robertson says it is “difficult, if not impossible” to give figures.

The number of enquiries on the issue is not recorded.

As of 5pm Monday, there had been 118 special votes cast, although these can be for a number of reasons, including overseas travel.

A NZ Post spokesperson says its Queenstown team is not aware of any customer complaints.

“We are very disappointed to hear that some residents in the Queenstown district have not received their voting packs.

“NZ Post delivers over three million local body election packs and this is a responsibility that we take very seriously.

“Our Queenstown branch has what we term a ‘clear floor’ policy. This means that we do a check at the end of the day to make sure all mail has been cleared out of the branch and delivered.

“We have looked into this further and there is no reason that Queenstown residents should not have received their voting packs.

They encouraged anyone who has not received their pack to contact Queenstown’s electoral officer.

Online voting is being mooted for the next election.

People can cast special votes in-person at Queenstown’s council office, 10 Gorge Road, or in Wanaka, until noon, Saturday. – PAUL TAYLOR