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The By-Election Bake Off!

May 17 2021 by Esther Whitehead

No more baked cakes!

There is a wee sideshow happening in Queenstown right now which would ideally be front page news- oh it is now!


The By-Election Bake Off!

QLDC’s by-election is June 11th, meaning, NOW IT’S UP TO YOU TO VOTE. Your voting papers arrive by snail mail on May 20th, if you have a mailbox or PO Box, and if you’re registered to vote. The By-Election Bake Off is on and I am looking for

your vote.

Leadership, to me, is about enabling the mana of others, or ‘success for succession’, it’s about building relationships and trust within our community. I have demonstrated leadership in Business, Education, Sustainability/Climate Action and Community Partnerships. A vote for Esther is a vote for a more equitable future… because governing bodies should fight to be representative of those they govern. Years of ‘traditional ways of being’ can deter desirable candidates and different thinkers from coming forth but we need diverse thinkers now more than ever. I predict that next year’s full local body election will see several councillors and our Mayor stand down.

This by-election bake off is just one transaction, but it’s really important leading into who’s around the table next year. I want to prepare for that now and support good leaders coming forward in the year to come.


We’re in a period of transformational change, as society moves from a prescriptive, authoritarian approach to a more participatory approach. Our local consultation processes have previously served us baked cakes, only asking if we’d like more or less sugar! It’s governance by 20th century thinking, offering ill-fitting solutions to 21st century issues. All this sheds light on why few young adults vote. We know that young adults are not apathetic or disengaged, we know they care deeply and are engaging in politics outside of the traditional realms, expressing themselves through activism, online petitions and entrepreneurship. We have opportunities in our district

to nurture this and to engage with our future leaders better.


To put your name forward as a candidate, is to be privileged enough to be financially stable, and to have housing security. I recognise this privilege and acknowledge that you have to be able to ‘afford’ to put your name forward for this role. This is a barrier to entry and one reason I am driven to advocate for greater equity in; building livelihoods (not just jobs), housing affordability, and how people access local decision-making.


Am I enjoying the journey of campaigning? Yes, I’m listening to you and hearing how you wish to engage. It stands to reason that a vote for Esther is a vote to build trust, and a shift from baked cakes to baking the cake together.


Let the By-Election Bake Off begin.

Esther Whitehead

#Estherlistens on Facebook

Esther Whitehead and Phil Wilson are standing for election in the QLDC Wakatipu

Ward By-election. Voting closes on June 11.

- Esther Whitehead