Mayoral hopefuls push for better healthcare for elderly

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Queenstown’s old folk have been promised stronger advocacy for local healthcare by the resort’s three mayoral candidates. 

Vanessa van Uden, Simon Hayes and Michael Scott spoke to about 30 people at the Wakatipu Senior Citizens’ rooms today, taking questions on a range of topics including how they’d improve Wakatipu’s struggling health services. 

Incumbent councillor Van Uden says Queenstown Lakes District Council hasn’t yet best-used its position to push for elderly care and hospital services on behalf of the community. 

“It’s not our role to get in and actually do the service delivery but we are representatives of the entire community and it is something that I passionately believe we should be doing. 

“The mayor and the councillors can get into a lot of peoples’ offices when it’s a lot harder for other people in the community to get into…That’s getting onto the [Southern] District Health Board and keeping on their tail and saying we want answers, and we want them now, please.” 

Real estate agent Hayes says the local wishlist has to be realistic. 

“We have to acknowledge we will not be able to provide all the services here that we would like, but having said that they can’t provide all the services they would like up in Christchurch, or whatever.” 

He and Scott also agree stronger advocacy is needed. 

Scott: “We do need to push our central Government and the health board along to provide the health services that we need because it’s all sort of up in the air a lot of the time. We can’t do anything as council as such, as long as we just push it.”