The recent Otago Regional Council by-election result in the Dunstan ward is in itself, unremarkable.
Someone wins, some loses. What is significant is the win by Ella Lawton heralds the end of rural representation in this area - quite possibly forever.
The changing demographic of Central Otago almost certainly guarantees any candidate from Queenstown, Wanaka and to a lesser extent Cromwell, a seat on the Otago Regional Council.
The urbanisation of Central Otago, especially in this past decade, has changed voters’ emphasis from production to preservation.
It now appears that a view from a resident’s home overlooking an outstanding natural landscape will always take precedence over those who have worked and maintained, lived and died, within the very landscape so many demand must remain in its ‘‘natural’’ state.
The historical and cultural use rights of ownership in this area (which farmers especially have taken for granted), are now subjugated to the ownership of a few hundred square metres and room with a view.
This situation is well illustrated at a national political level where - what Auckland wants, Auckland voters get and usually at the expense of the provinces’ needs.
It is entirely justified to expect our regional council to recognise the risks to our environment in which we all share and have responsibility for.
Unfortunately, in this democracy of ours, the three ‘‘local’’ Dunstan voices are often ignored in favour of the Dunedincentric majority of councillors.
Bus hubs, new office buildings, concrete river ways for flood protection in Dunedin North (Leith River) continually trump wilding tree control and lake monitoring.
C’est la vie.
Former Otago Regional councillor Gerrald Eckhoff.