Queenstown’s election campaign stepped up a notch in Arrowtown last night with one candidate taking potshots at outgoing mayor Clive Geddes.
At an otherwise run-of-the-mill meet-the-candidates meeting to talk about the historic town’s issues, Arrowtown ward candidate Simon Spark took a novel approach to speaking to about 80 voters.
He says he’s started writing a letter “on behalf of the Arrowtown community” that he wants locals to help him finish.
“It starts – ‘Dear Clive’,
“‘Thanks for the last nine years. It’s been great. But what have you done with all our money?
“You’ve taken millions in rates and millions more in development contributions, which has affected us all. And now we’re broke. We’re actually worse than broke, we’re in debt.
“I look at a lot of people out here and the generation of people I’m looking at and my generation, we don’t like debt. We don’t like living with it personally or as a community’.
“So I say to Clive, ‘As a community – in case you haven’t been keeping up on your time as mayor – we can offer some suggestions on where that money may be hiding.
“Maybe with those fellas – that don’t come from here – but they give us a lot of advice.
“Maybe it’s paying the interest to those people we owe money to. And let’s be realistic, we all know that they’ll want it back some day.
“I guess that’s probably the next council’s problem.
“Maybe it’s those flash toilets in Frankton. We’ve all seen them. Or maybe those cool sports fields at the Events Centre that we’ve built, costing a lot of money, and then someone’s figured out we can’t use them because a plane might crash into our kids playing on them.
“Maybe it’s plans for the civic centre, or the flash council offices on Gorge Rd – a lot of money spent for nothing.
“Or maybe it’s the real dumb decisions where we get taken to court by our own community who are so p****d off at the lack of consultation that this council undertakes before they make their stupid decisions.”
Spark made a dig at the controversial Queenstown Airport share sale before asking people to vote for him.
“I will keep asking these hard questions and getting the answers because Arrowtown deserves nothing less,” he says.
The next public election meeting, organised by the Kelvin Peninsula Association, is on tonight.