I’ve lived in Queenstown much of my life. My motivation for standing for mayor in 2016 was to contribute to a place which has given me, my wife and our two children a great life. I’ve lost blood, sweat and tears at times over the past three years – particularly during negotiations for a visitor levy and a useable public transport system – but it’s been one of the most deeply-satisfying jobs I’ve ever had.
I’m so pleased more of our community can now afford their own home, through the work of my mayoral taskforce and the housing trust. I’m relieved a visitor levy will finally ease the burden of our popularity on ratepayers. I’m excited 130,000 people a month are catching the bus, reducing road congestion. I’m proud some of the issues I faced when elected – freedom campers polluting Lake Hayes Reserve and the Shotover Delta, Quail Rise residents worried about their intersection, and cars lining roads near the airport – are largely problems of the past.
But I see so much still to do to make Queenstown a place where anyone can live comfortably and securely, not just those in the upper income bracket. Our community needs teachers, nurses, police officers, shopkeepers, hospitality workers. I have the local knowledge, the proven leadership ability, the connections and the energy to achieve this.
If re-elected, I’ll resolve issues around our airport and, I assure you, community aspirations will guide decisions. Expansion proposals won’t proceed until the social, environmental and economic impacts are understood, and all options, including load-sharing with other airports, will be seriously considered. I’ve no doubt we will find a sensible solution.
I’ll ensure Inner Links comes to fruition, diverting main roads around our CBD, changing its focus to pedestrians, cyclists and slow vehicles. Lake Hayes Estate/Shotover Country residents will get direct, peak-time $2 bus services to the CBD. I’m planning an Arrowtown-Queenstown service via Malalghans Road, and a Cromwell-Queenstown commuter service. Getting around on bike or foot is also going to become more appealing – QLDC this month approved 32km of new cycle/walkways through, and between, urban centres, with NZTA funding half the cost.
With QLDC’s talented staff, this term of hard-working elected members have developed a crucial climate change action plan; confirmed a plan to resolve our infrastructure woes, with the visitor levy providing $23 million a year toward the cost; and I’ve negotiated a joint venture with Ngai Tahu Property for a much-wanted, but until now unaffordable, civic centre.
I would so appreciate your vote to continue this progress.