Neeta Shetty: 'I see how disenfranchised our community is'
Being a sincere listener, being respectful, being approachable and having humility, this is what I strive for. As Mayor, this is what I bring to our community.
I see how disenfranchised our community is with the council and my first action will be to repair the relationship of the Queenstown Lakes District Council with the community.
My first step as Mayor would be to engage with our councillors and community board members about proposed checkpoints and if these align with our community paradigms. By openly collaborating with the councillors and community board members, I want to set our priorities with timeframes - for the first three months, the first six months and by the end of the first year.
We will undoubtedly have a diverse group of councillors and community members, there will be profound experiences and fresh perspectives. As Mayor, I want to include all these voices and visions to clearly identify community goals with timeframes.
My aim is to unite the QLDC and our community to work in unison and with trust, so we can achieve tangible community benefits.
Giving a voice to Wānaka and our townships will be an affirmative action as Mayor. We have to build the resilience and interrelationships within our community so we can advocate meritoriously the characteristic priorities of our distinctive region.
What do I aim to achieve in the first 100 days?
Staffing issues: I want to advocate the needs of our businesses to the central government and to New Zealand Immigration. We need our immigration settings to emphasise on cutting the bureaucracy and providing certainty to the businesses of our region.
Lakeview development: With the consent application now paused, there is a potential for the new council to explore avenues. One particular way is to involve Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust (QLCHT) - either through build or through developers’ contributions for affordable housing.
Accountability and transparency is an important issue for my candidacy as a community voice. I am committed to an overhaul of QLDC spending but also for QLDC be coalesce with the community.
Affordable housing: Currently the only tool that QLDC has to provide affordable housing is through our district plan and ‘Inclusionary Zoning’ is an effective planning method. In collaboration with QLCHT there are further options where the central government can assist. QLCHT can render affordable homes if supported inordinately by QLDC. A further assistance that QLDC can provide to QLCHT is by facilitating borrowing through the Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA). LGFA lends funds solely to Councils and CCOs at a discounted margin to enable them to undertake green, social and/or sustainability (GSS) projects that enable ambitious climate, environmental and social projects and QLDC can facilitate this for QLCHT.
How will I ensure community engagement? As Mayor, this will be further developed as one of my main priorities - in consultation with all our councillors and community board members. My facts will come from our stakeholders, our elected councillors, council experts and staff; but the community will be the driving force for shaping our region. However, a start point for the QLDC is to present weekly updates through the media and through our websites on current and upcoming projects. I see myself leading with a ‘we’ rather than a ‘me’. I will have an open-door policy and my time will not be restricted solely to meetings for ministerial matters - I will be equally available to meet members, community groups and businesses of our community. I do not underestimate the power of listening as a leader. I will be result driven, I want quantifiable, tangible outcomes to our actions that we can account for in our reporting to the community. I will ensure that I am accountable to our councillors and community board members and that we all engage with the community in a positive and approachable manner. QLDC must be accessible to our community, as well as being the primary and most reliable source of information for our community.