Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has launched its campaign calling for “local legends” to stand in this year’s local election.
The election will take place on 8 October, with candidate nominations opening in mid-July.
The campaign encourages people to think about stand-out people in their community – local legends – who would make a great Councillor, Community Board Member, or even the next Mayor.
QLDC Chief Executive Mike Theelen said the idea behind the campaign is to encourage people who may not have previously thought about standing for election to consider it.
“We want people to think about anyone they know who may make a good candidate. It could be your kids’ swimming coach, a mountain biking buddy, someone from your church or temple, your local barista – anyone at all,” Mr Theelen said.
“We want people to share the idea with people they know. Start a conversation, ‘hey, have you ever considered being a Councillor?’”
“We all know local legends in our neighbourhood. People who are filled with passion for our district and strong views on the local issues that matter. We welcome people from all walks of life to stand whether you were born here and are a lifelong-local or are from one of the many nationalities that has chosen to make this place home. And you don’t need to have any particular qualifications, just be interested in and committed to shaping the future of the wider Queenstown Lakes District.”
Interested candidates are encouraged to come along to Council meetings to get an idea of what Council does and the types of decisions elected members are involved in. A list of upcoming meetings is available on the Council website.
“We want candidates to have a good understanding of the role. Successful candidates will be required to attend regular Council, Committee and Community Board meetings and workshops, there will be briefing papers and reports to read, and there will be community engagements and activities to get involved in so you can hear directly from locals on the big decisions and challenges. These include elected members being appointed to community groups such as residents’ associations, business groups, advisory groups and more,” said Mr Theelen.
“Elected members make some very important decisions about what and how the Council spends its rates, and determining what the priorities for Council are. This means having an open mind, being able to discuss and at times debate different ideas and points of view, and being able to make some tough decisions.”
“The Council is also a legal entity, a regulator, and an enforcement agency. This means that often the Council is doing things which for some people may be very unpopular. This is part of the responsibility of Council.”
The role of Mayor is full-time and involves weekend and evening events. The role of Councillor and Community Board member are still busy, but it is possible to maintain some work commitments elsewhere.
Meetings are often held during daytime hours, so if you have work commitments it helps to have an employer who is open to some flexibility.
Candidates are also encouraged to participate in candidate debates during the election voting period to make their values and position understood. Debates are usually held by community groups, Chambers of Commerce, and other stakeholders in the run up to the election. QLDC will share details of debates and meet the candidate events on its Facebook page.
Candidates are able to stand for the role of Mayor, Councillor, or Community Board Member. Candidates can put themselves forward for more than one role, however if elected they may only take on one position.
As part of the Representation Review Council undertook last year, new ward names and boundaries were adopted, these are:
Queenstown-Whakatipu (four Ward Councillors) – this ward encompasses Jacks Point, Hanley’s Farm, Kingston, Frankton, Quail Rise, Kelvin Peninsula, Glenorchy, central Queenstown and Fernhill.
Arrowtown-Kawarau (three Ward Councillors) – the communities within this ward are Arrowtown, Gibbston Valley, Shotover Country, Lake Hayes Estate, Dalefield and Arthurs Point.
Wānaka-Upper Clutha (four Ward Councillors) – this ward is from the top of the Crown Range and all of the Upper Clutha Area including Hāwea up to just beyond Makarora and including part of the Matukituki Valley in Mt Aspiring National Park.
Additionally, as part of this review the Wānaka Community Board was renamed the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board (four members).
These changes reflect the changing population and geographic spread throughout the district. Community Board members have a uniquely local perspective aligned with the community of interest they represent, whereas the Mayor and Councillors must consider matters from a district-wide perspective not just the ward they are elected in.
“During the representation review submission process we heard how people value the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board, so we’re hoping to see lots of nominations come forward to reflect that,” said Mr Theelen.
Candidate nominations open 15 July and close on 12 August at 12 noon. The Council website and Facebook page will be kept up to date with the latest information, including the nomination form.
People who are interested in standing for election are encouraged to check out Council’s website for more information, as well as www.votelocal.co.nz. A QLDC candidate’s handbook will be coming out shortly.
As part of the Local Legends campaign, Queenstown Lakes District residents are also encouraged to check they are enrolled to vote. A person can vote in the elections if they are:
- 18 years or older AND
a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident AND
- have lived in Aotearoa New Zealand for one year or more continuously at some point.
“When it comes to voting, I strongly encourage every eligible person in the district to take part. It really matters as it’s an opportunity to vote for people who represent your views or values, whether that’s on climate change, infrastructure, the local economy, parks and community facilities, or something else entirely. But that may also be someone who represents your own background, your culture, or your unique community identity,” said Mr Theelen.
Voting papers will be sent in the mail in September for their return by 8 October. They can be posted back or delivered to a Council office in Queenstown or Wānaka.