Kelliher to fight Lawton for seat
Central Otago farmer and former regional councillor Gary Kelliher will challenge Ella Lawton for a seat on the Otago Regional Council left vacant after her mother died of cancer in March.
First-term councillor Maggie Lawton passed away on March 13 after a short battle with cancer. Her daughter Ella Lawton, a Queenstown Lakes District Councillor, has announced plans to seek her mother’s seat.
‘‘I have been overwhelmed by the number of people encouraging me to stand,’’ Kelliher said.
‘‘A number have also been concerned at the QLDC mayor and CEO publicly supporting an elected councillor ‘jumping ship’ mid-term, and the cost and uncertainty this places on both councils and the ratepayers.’’
Narrowly missing the October election by five votes to Michael Laws had ‘‘taken its toll’’ on thoughts of standing again, he said.
‘‘My previous term on council has shown me there is much left to do, with the region entering a critical period of substantial change in the spaces of water quality, water quantity, air and pests. It is extremely important that the region has strong representation at the council table. While I live near Alexandra my family have property in Wanaka and we date back to the earliest settlers there. Several streets bear the family’s names.’’