‘Might deserve more councillors’

Queenstown’s first-ever Otago Regional Council (ORC) rep is calling for a representation review to see if this area qualifies for more councillors.

Councillor Alexa Forbes was first elected as a Dunstan rep in 2019 — this constituency, comprising Queenstown-Lakes and Central Otago, supplies three councillors.

Dunedin, by contrast, supplies six.

Forbes says the combination of Queenstown-Lakes’ fast-growing population, and its importance environmentally, at Otago’s headwaters, makes her believe we deserve more representation, especially as Dunstan’s had just the three reps for a long time (the other two, currently, are based in Cromwell and Alexandra).

‘‘I think it’s quite busy for one small person, and we’re a long way from Dunedin.’’

Queenstown’s public transport, she says, is a ‘‘massive’’ issue, and there’s a lot of environmental work that’s undertaken here by ORC, or organisations supported by ORC in one way or another, she points out.

‘‘And it’s really important — environmentally, this is our headwaters, this is the top of the catchment.

‘‘Whatever we do here flows down [to the coast], so what we do here needs to be good.

‘‘We have got a lot more staff after the last lot of rate rises, around public transport and catchments, that stuff is good progress, but I would like to see a representation review to make sure we are being properly represented.’’

The ORC had been around for 30 years before Forbes — a former Queenstown Lakes councillor — became its first Queenstown-based councillor.

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