Van Uden defends council contract boss’s campaign donation

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A Queenstown mayoral candidate is defending partial bankrolling of her campaign by a council contractor boss. 

Vanessa van Uden admitted this week that Grant Hensman – co-owner of council landfill operator Scope Resources – and his wife Sharyn are her major funders. 

“It’s a one-off donation as a personal individual and it comes with absolutely no strings attached whatsoever,” Van Uden explains. 

“It’s an expression of support and assistance towards getting elected. I can categorically, 100 per cent tell you that there are absolutely no strings attached to anything and I have been straight up and down about that with anyone who’s offered support.” 

Van Uden says she’s also received “generous” pledges from Wanaka couple Lynette and Robert Duncan and several other people. 

“There’ll be a significant amount from my pocket as well,” Van Uden says, adding exact dollar amounts haven’t yet been established. 

“I’ve had so many [pledges] I’m trying to balance things out. It will all go in the return at the end and of course it’ll measure up to what I’m allowed to do.” 

Van Uden rival Queenstowner Simon Hayes says his campaign budget of about $1000 is “bare-bones and self-funded”. 

“I’m trying to be financially prudent,” he says. 

“My opponent who is advocating responsible council spending is [reportedly] spending $20,000 of somebody else’s money.”