Call for starters for Neeta Shetty by-election race

by Kim Bowden - Feb 16, 2023

Nominations are now open for would-be councillors keen to step up and take the spot on the Queenstown Lakes District Council left by Neeta Shetty.

Just four months after being voted onto council by residents and ratepayer of the Arrowtown-Kawarau Ward, Ms Shetty resigned, triggering a by-election.

The process to replace her at the district's decision-making table starts today, with people able to nominate candidates for the job.

Early and first to the start line - Kinloch Wilderness Retreat owner John Glover, who works for community-led development organisation Shaping Our Future.

In a statement today, QLDC chief executive Mike Theelen says the by-election offers a rare opportunity early in a three-year local election cycle for "someone with the right skills" to represent the ward around the council table.

“Our district and its diverse communities face some unique challenges in the next few years,” he says in the written statement.

“Tackling these head-on and making the most of the opportunities they’ll bring will require strong leadership and clear strategic direction. If you can provide this, or equally know someone who can, then it’s time to consider putting yourself forward or talking to them about doing so.”

QLDC electoral officer Jane Robertson says anyone wishing to stand needs to be aged 18 or over, a New Zealand citizen and nominated by two people who are enrolled to vote in the Arrowtown-Kawarau Ward.

“We have a range of resources available to help potential candidates decide if running is right for them. You can get these and the nomination form from our website or by dropping into QLDC’s office at 10 Gorge Road, Queenstown,” she says.

Nominations remain open until midday on Thursday, March 9.

Voting papers for the by-election itself will be mailed out to ward electors on Thursday, April 13, with voting closing at midday on Friday, May 5, Ms Robertson say.

Speaking to Crux at the start of February Ms Shetty had said the decision to resign and immediately leave her council seat had been "one of the most difficult" of her life.

She called it "a burden" to disappoint people, and she did so for health and well-being reasons.

Her seat is currently empty, leaving just two councillors - Craig 'Ferg' Ferguson and Lisa Guy - representing the Arrowtown-Kawarau Ward for now.




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