Straight talker joins the race

We’ll survive: Queenstown Taxis boss Grant Scannell says business dropped about 90 per cent in the week before the lockdown

Grant Scannell’s decided to chuck his hat in the ring for this year’s local body elections – and says he’ll have to learn how to be “PC” if he’s elected as a councillor.

Scannell, 49, thought about standing in 2016 but the timing wasn’t right.

Now, though, the Queenstown Taxis managing director reckons his skills could be used to help deal with some of the issues the resort’s facing.

Scannell, the South Island rep on the New Zealand Taxi Federation board, says transport and infrastructure are the two biggest issues for the Wakatipu.

He fears if they’re left unchecked, the resort could turn into “another urban bloody slum”.

“We keep allowing for these hotels to be built and we don’t have the infrastructure to sustain what they’re doing to the environment.

“We’re almost out of our depth now, but if we carry on the way we’re going with the lack of infrastructure, we’re going to be a hell of a lot worse in another three years.”

The father of four’s originally from Invercargill, and did his first stint living in Queenstown in the ’80s, left, and came back about 15 years ago.

For the past decade he’s been involved in the taxi industry, and has been a driver of the council’s new taxi permit system, which came into play on July 1. He’s also been a rugby coach for 21 years and is on the Wakatipu Rugby Club committee.

“The town’s been good to me and my family … and now I think it’s time for me to give something back,” he says.

“I just want to be a voice for the people – I don’t believe that the council, at the moment, is being a voice for the people.

“I’m not a poser and I’m not a pretty boy … I don’t bullshit and I don’t powder-puff things.

“I come from the school of hard knocks.

“My biggest thing is a spade’s a spade.”

Nominations for the elections, being held on October 12, officially open next Friday.