Our brand new council
- by Peter Newport :
- Oct 24,2019
It was largely ceremonial, but the newly elected Queenstown Lakes District Council met today for the first time - with some pomp, a little ceremony and a slight sense of some big future battles ahead.
Today though was all smiles, tea, cakes and happy photographs. The only slightly tense element in the proceedings was that Mayor Jim Boult selected Wanaka's Calum MacLeod as his Deputy Mayor - passing over Wanaka's Quentin Smith who got more votes than Calum.
"If I was offered Deputy Mayor, I would not have turned it down" Quentin told Crux. "It was the Mayor's decision and I'm OK to go along with that decision."
The councillors were all sworn in and then given a fairly serious lecture by the QLDC's lawyer about the legal responsibility's they now had on their shoulders. Watched from the sidelines was the council's Executive Leadership Team - the mangers that the new councillors would be working with (and maybe sometimes against) over the next three years.
Another source of slight anxiety was A J Mason's attendance as a new councillor when he knew that a Queenstown Court had today approved a recount that could see Frankton's Glyn Lewers replace him around the council table. There's only one vote between them and the result should be known by October 30th.
New councillors Niki Gladding and Niam Shaw were both happy and relaxed, with no sign of the feisty combat that both are capable of - it was not the right time or place. Everybody shared pink lamingtons and accepted that today was an occasion to respect the democratic process that saw them elected, and others less successful (and therefore absent) were thanked by the Mayor for having the courage to stand.
The next council meeting, which QLDC staff have promised to stream live, will probably feature somewhat less tea and cakes - and a little more mortal combat.
Main Image: From left - From Left: Val Miller, John MacDonald, Niki Gladding, Penny Clark, Mayor Jim Boult, Deputy Mayor Calum MacLeod, Heath Copland, A J Mason (subject to recount), Niamh Shaw, Quentin Smith and Craig "Ferg" Ferguson.