Candidate questions

Local body election voting finishes on October 8, and with local government facing several changes and challenges, The News is putting questions to the council and community board candidates to help our readers gain insight in to the people hoping to represent them.

This week we continue, with council and community board candidates in the Queenstown Lake District Council’s Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward. We asked candidates three questions and will publish the answers each week in the lead-up to the election, focusing on a ward a week. The three questions were:

1. Why are you standing for council?

2. Housing affordability and availability is a hot topic in the region. What role does local government have to play in improving this issue in the region?

3. What do you see as the key issue facing the region? This week we start with council and community board candidates standing for the region?


Daniel Shand

Standing for: Mayor and Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward

1. I feel council is important, it is making decisions that affect everyone. I’d like to involve everyone in the decision-making process. The people being affected most by the decisions should be involved in making the decisions. I also care about the community and where it’s going, and I’d like to help the community as it goes forward, after these last few difficult years.

2. Housing affordability and availability is a pressing topic as it is affecting people. There is a massive shortage of housing. I would start looking at the problem in order of the people most affected. Some people are living in their cars. I’d vote to install coin operated hot showers at all freedom camping sites within the district, so people living in cars can have access to hot showers. I think this would be a starting point.

3. I’d like to ask this question to the region, I’d like to hear from the people that live here. What are you facing, what are your worries, and how would you like the council to help you?

Ring or text me on 022 158›0045, I’d love to hear from you.

Ross McCarthy

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward

1. Three Waters, which I am totally against as I believe the Government is basically stealing one of our best assets. I believe the majority of our local community wants to keep this asset yet our Government does not want to listen.

2. Tourism. Our community thrives off tourism. We need to get tourism back and support the tourism sector, which our Government is currently making very difficult.

3. Airport. I believe there might be a solution for the current airport to take on larger planes which has not been explored. I am a pilot myself and have developed a business through innovation. I really believe I have a solution.

Olly Burke

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward

1. I have worked extensively in many of the industries that make up our great community. I have been a business owner and done time working in the rural sector.

I feel it’s time to put all this experience to use and serve you, the ratepayer and the voter, in an attempt to get the best possible out come for us all I want to try and help this community that I love so much.

2. Local government needs to cut the cost and timeframes of the consenting process. We need to install local bylaws that can help promote the tiny home initiative in places. Affordable housing is a myth if we continue to penalise developers as these costs are only being passed on to the buyer.

3. Future planning — the Upper Clutha is going to grow significantly in the next 20 years, we do need to be open to the conversation of another airport. Wanaka does need to plan for another secondary school in the area and not close Hawea Primary. We need an effective public transport network. The film studio in its current concept is not fit for purpose and needs a rethink. On a lighter note, an indoor skifield?

Cody Tucker

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward

1. To represent the young voice in the local council to ensure accountability for future outcomes. Bring creativity and transparency to create a better relationship with residents and design a hopeful vision of the future that brings people together.

I want to help people feel excited about the future again and build a strong and diverse community that feels empowered to take ownership and action on the change they want to see.

2. It’s a national issue, exacerbated by our already-high cost of living and is now affecting not just first home buyers, but local businesses too. It needs a combination of social housing via the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, inclusionary zoning for first-home buyers (that keeps them in the free market), a dedicated rental supply for seasonal workers, better standards and building techniques, more liberal approach to types of buildings/ developments and some work on bed tax, empty housing, et cetera.

3. Growth and change. It is the fastest growing region in New Zealand and rapidly changing through highly motivated investors/ developers.

We have to define strong values and vision to lead these decisions to ensure the active communities are strengthened. It is vital to our wellbeing.

We need to evolve our identity as a destination hot› spot to a creative hub of innovators and guardians of the environment.

We’re so much more than pretty scenery.

Barry Bruce

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward and Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board

1. I have thoroughly enjoyed my first term in local government. It is satisfying to see projects approved by WCB under way, such as the lakefront redevelopment stages, acquisition of the old Mitre 10 building for a community and sport centre, plus numerous road and intersection improvements currently in planing but scheduled to be done over the next year or so. I would be honoured to be re-elected to WCB and council to continue the work already started.

2. Historically local government has limited influence on housing affordability, which is largely driven by market demand and Central Government policies. However, local government can make things easier with a simplified building consent process, lower subdivision contributions and fees structure. We need to look for efficiencies to reduce the substantial invisible costs which contribute to the high cost of housing in NZ.

3. The big issue facing the region is the avalanche of changes proposed by Central Government. These proposed changes include Three Waters, Resource Management Act reforms and the Central Government review of how Local Government will look over the next thirty years. Each one of these proposals will require considerable input and wise decisions by Council to ensure our region retains a strong influence on its future and is not disadvantaged.

Quentin Smith

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward and Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board

1. I stood first for QLDC in 2016 to stand up for the people of the Upper Clutha in getting a fair share of the districts funding and resources. I am confident that I have achieved a lot in the past 6 years and look forward to the opportunity to continue that work. Wanaka remains the fastest-growing part of the fastest-growing district in the country and we cannot survive without significant support and funding.

2. QLDC’s primary support for affordable housing is through the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust and the fantastic work that it does as well as continuing to provide zoning and infrastructure to support appropriate supply. House price to household income ratio has reached 17:1 and we face an intergenerational social and workforce crisis which could impact our district for decades.

3. Key issue for our district remains the rate of growth. We cannot sustain the rate of growth and keep up with infrastructure, services and facilities required to service that growth, combined with massive cost escalations in every sector we are facing a major funding crisis in the coming years. Balancing the needs of climate change, cost of living and growth demands will be challenging for our communities.

Lyal Cocks

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward and Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board

1. Having been a businessman in Wanaka for 24 years, I am still passionate about the district and after a few years out of council, I am refreshed and ready to contribute my experience and knowledge to provide effective representation at the council and community board tables. Having served as an elected member for 12 years and six years as deputy mayor, I have been there and done it and keen to do it again.

2. Facilitating the provision of appropriate and needed housing by enabling higher density, supporting the Queenstown Lakes Housing Trust, reviewing short›term visitor accommodation rules, improving the consenting requirements, encouraging employer›initiated accommodation, encouraging use of unoccupied houses for rental accommodation, establishing cheap and good› quality public transport between residential areas and areas of work, and promoting economic development initiates to diversify away from our narrow economic base.

3. The high cost of living created by things such as housing costs, relatively narrow economic base and transport and overhead costs such as rates has a detrimental effect on worker availability and creates an unbalanced society. Attracting a wider range of economic activities will help address this issue and there are things we can do to achieve this, e.g. sort out traffic and transport issues, provide effective Three Waters infrastructure and facilitate planning assistance.

John Wellington

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha ward and Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board

1. Wanaka has a very engaged community, but rarely achieves consensus, meaning projects end up in the too›hard basket. We need a strong slate of councillors together with an effective Wanaka Community Board to find common ground within our community and ensure that those issues are understood by council and addressed.

Rather than submit on issues I felt it was time to sit on the other side of the table and help deliver community outcomes.

2. Council has a key role as a facilitator to address housing affordability, through channels like the Queenstown Lakes Housing Trust, inclusionary zoning and the district plan. It should encourage high-density zones in urban areas.

It should consider supporting housing co›operatives, co-living, housing associations and have more control over restrictive covenants in subdivisions that limit housing options by restricting movable houses or minimum floor areas.

3. Housing affordability as above then adapting to climate change. We must address our CO2 emissions. Forty percent of these in our area come from transport. Promoting active transport and public transport with better urban design and density, including how we build and what materials we use, are the key ways we can action this. We must consider our vulnerability to more extreme weather events, especially in relation to being isolated by infrastructure damage and community resilience. 

Linda Joll

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board

1. I am standing for the community board of Upper Clutha because I care, I stand for change.

The Upper Clutha area is a huge contributor to the Queenstown Lakes district, yet we feel unheard. I want to be that bridge or conduit for community to councillors/council, we need to talk more. Proportionately, funding into Wanaka is out of balance. We need to fix that. We need to listen to our community groups.

2. We could come up with some better ideas than taxing. We need to build smaller, smarter, sustainably, for our region. Listen to our young builders out there for ideas on solving this issue, local government can back solutions provided, through the correct channels of communication, but this is a complex bunch of issues, affordability, cost of living, not just for our region but for Aotearoa.

3. Sustainable growth, everybody wants to live in paradise, to have a bolt-hole in our region, 40% of houses in Wanaka are holiday homes, often owned off shore, if these homes were full of families contributing to our communities throughout the year, we may be able to provide the public transport and other services the region so badly needs.

Simon Telfer

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board

1. I’m passionate about Wanaka, its community and the need to act as a guardian of the town for future generations. I believe the community board has an opportunity to reclaim its influence and respect and to lead our town in a future focused, positive and inspiring way. I have a track record of advocacy around Sticky Forest, active transport and economic diversification and have a background of 20 years’ governance experience.

2. QLDC should 1) continue its collaboration with The Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust, 2) extend the requirement for developers to provide land specifically for affordable housing, 3) incentivise denser residential living in the town centre, 4) prioritise warm, healthy and sustainable home building, and 5) invest more in economic diversification efforts to increase higher paying jobs, reducing the wage/house price chasm.

3. Protecting our community and our environment. This includes fully resourcing our social services and volunteer groups to support everyone living in Wanaka; no-one should be left behind. Acting as kaitiaki/ guardians for the quality of our lakes, creeks, rivers and overall biodiversity. Providing an easy, safe and equitable network of pathways for people who choose to walk and bike to school, work, shop or socialise.

Chris Hadfield

Standing for: Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board

Due to a busier period than normal at his cafe and being recently out of town, Chris Hadfield was unable to submit responses to these questions.