Kel­li­her to fight Law­ton for seat

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

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.’’

JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

Gary Kel­li­her.

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