Hoping for round two: Phil Wilson


The first candidate to put up their hand for Queenstown council’s vacant seat’s been there before.

Recently-retired lawyer and long-time resort resident Phil Wilson, who served a term from 1992 to 1995, tells Mountain Scene he’d already been mulling over throwing his hat in the
ring at the next local body elections.

After the resignation of John MacDonald to better manage his Parkinson’s condition, Wilson says he discussed the idea with his wife Ella, and they decided he should ‘‘give it a go’’.

Following his retirement from AWS Legal last October, he’s now got the time to devote himself to the role.

‘‘I’d always wanted to get back to it, but while running a busy law practice it was out of the question.

‘‘I hope that I could carry on the good work that John’s done, along with the rest of the council.

‘‘We’ve got some very challenging times ahead, I’ve been in town for a long time, and feel like I’ve got the knowledge and the ability to make a difference.’’

Nominations for the June 11 by-election opened this week, and close on April 15.

Wilson, 68, who’s lived in the resort since 1981, believes the current council’s performing well, and backs Jim Boult’s leadership through a difficult period — particularly his ability to ‘‘make his voice heard in Wellington’’ and advocate strongly for the district’s interests post-Covid.

He has a particular interest in helping usher through major infrastructure projects such as the CBD streets upgrade and the arterial bypass — ‘‘we talked about that in 1993’’.

Asked if he’s just another older, white professional male standing for public office, Wilson says greater diversity is always desirable, but points out the current council includes four  women and has some relatively young members.

‘‘There’s no substitute for experience — I have that, and I have a lot to offer.

‘‘But I’m the  sort of person who’s prepared to listen to younger views and accept they have a different perspective on the world that people my age grew up in.

‘‘I have five children of my own … I have a good listening ear and I take their views into account.’’

Based on his previous stint, he says the best way to get things done on council is to do your homework, strive to achieve a consensus on decisions, and be prepared to make concessions.

After 20 years as a retailer, 13 of those in the resort, he’s just called time on a 27-year legal career.

He’s also got a host of community roles under his belt from his work across a variety of sectors.

His is the only nomination received by the council to date.