Calling Council Candidates
July 1 2019 by Scott Stevens Arrowtown Ward Councillor, Queenstow
Why would anyone want to put their hand up for Council? If you follow social media, we are all a bunch of morons. So much love. It could be easy to become disheartened. However, in the real face to face world it is very different and much more positive. I have been the Arrowtown Ward Councillor for 5 years, just on two terms and this October step down after what has been a thoroughly rewarding experience. With nominations for Council opening on 19 July I got to thinking why I stood in the first place. Hopefully my story will encourage others to take the leap of faith.
It started with a shoulder tap, then another. It wasn’t my ambition to be a local government politician. Others seemed to think I had what it takes. So I got to thinking, what does it take and do I have it in me? First things first, you need an open mind and willingness to hear the other side of the story. Predetermined opinions are dangerous and not to be confused with passion. Because you need passion in spades. Passion for all the aspects of life that QLDC touches. Which is pretty much everything. For me it begins with my hometown, Arrowtown. I love the place and the people in it. I love the Queenstown Lakes District. I arrived here 22 years ago with a backpack and not much else. I became enchanted by our seat-of-the-pants pioneering history from gold mining to adventure tourism. This is a district with a willingness to welcome newcomers and encourage entrepreneurship. New Zealand’s tall poppy syndrome does not exist here. If you succeed, people encourage you. I was encouraged and am eternally grateful. I wanted to keep that spirit of positivity going and help steer the ship as we navigated our way through an unprecedented period of growth.
Being at the council table is exciting, challenging and meaningful. It is not a volunteer position. You get paid but not at a level where you would do it for the money. Therefore, you need to have other motivations to make it worthwhile. For me, my role representing the people of Arrowtown and the Queenstown Lakes District has given me the opportunity to repay the community that welcomed and encouraged me 22 years ago. It has also given me the opportunity to use and expand my professional skills and put them to good use directing the activities of Council through policy decision making. Although my time is nearly up, the very nature of local government is that QLDC’s time is never up. It is exciting times ahead for anyone thinking of standing in the Wakatipu, Arrowtown or Wanaka Wards. I encourage those with an interest in standing to contact me to learn more about the role. QLDC is a great organisation lead by a Council that despite the odd “bunch of morons” comment is a high functioning productive group. It’s not perfect, there is always room for improvement, and it is certainly never boring.