ORC will get the job done - Alexa Forbes

by Peter Newport - Jun 16, 2020

Queenstown Otago Regional Councillor Alexa Forbes says that the current leadership crisis will not stop the ORC from delivering the goods when it comes to the Southern Lakes and Central Otago.

Current Otago Regional Council Chair Marian Hobbs - unlikely to survive next months extraordinary meeting.

Forbes did not sign the dramatic letter yesterday calling for a meeting to remove ORC Chair Marian Hobbs but she admits that Hobbs is unlikely to survive the move with nine councillors wanting to push her out.

The problems centre on water supply for the farming industry. Hobbs became known for her high, national level concerns for the environment whereas the farming lobby group amongst ORC councillors was more focussed on the practicalities of running a profitable agriculture business.

"Some of the other councillors found the national focus quite difficult. I don't like to go into an environmental versus economic divide because I think that actually  over simplifies it." Alexa Forbes told Crux this morning.

Forbes says that controversial ORC councillor Michael Laws has ruled himself out from replacing Hobbs as ORC Chair and she refuses to speculate on who could, or should, be the new Chair.

What she does say though is that many of the ORC's systemic problems are getting fixed. "There's not a toxic culture there, we are getting things done. The headwaters around the Southern Lakes and Central Otago have not had the attention that they needed - but that is now being addressed. Things are improving."

Forbes also says there will be improvement on the pest management front and that the current management team is doing a good job.

"I'm discouraged that we're very likely to lose Marian Hobbs. She done a good job and worked well with the ORC CEO and top management team. The ORC is a lot better than it was, due to her good work."



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