Esther Whitehead: Why I won't stand for council again

by Peter Newport - Jun 28, 2024

QLDC elected member Esther Whitehead has told Crux in this week's podcast that the way councillors "have been overridden, purposely or not" on Alliance roading budget blowouts is behind her decision not to stand in the next local elections.

"We as councillors are held to account. I'm held to account as a councillor. Frankly I won't be putting myself in that position next term because I won't be standing. That’s because I'm held to account but I have no control. The alliance has been proof of that, the way councillors have been overridden, purposely or not."

Ms Whitehead told Crux that an external review commissioned by the QLDC had not fully exposed deficiencies in the current system of governance. A Crux investigation showed that the report had been heavily edited by the same council managers that the review was supposed to be reporting on.

She believes a different style of council leadership, with more openness, collaboration and "soft skills" could make a difference to the current QLDC culture.

This is virtually the same message that has come through in the first two Crux podcast episodes with councillors Cody Tucker and Matt Wong - total responsibility but no control.

Plus - in this week's podcast Peter Newport, Kim Bowden and Lauren Pattemore provide behind the scenes commentary on this week;'s topo local news stories - residents struggling to pay their council rates and some positive public health news in Wānaka.

Listen using the links below or on your favourite podcast platform.

Episode 5. Esther Whitehead and top stories

Episode 6. Esther Whitehead - full interview

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