First Steps for Ambitious District Future

Aug 7, 2018

This week marks the beginning of a challenging journey for the Queenstown Lakes District, to take control of the future.  

“When I first took office in 2016 I held a strong view that our district needed to cast its mind beyond the horizon but first we had work to do,” QLDC Mayor Jim Boult said. “Much debate at the time of the election centred on the need for a vision for the future, which went beyond Council long term plans”. 

With a clear mandate for Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) to make the 2018-2028 Ten Year Plan a reality, Mayor Boult’s attention has turned again to the bigger question, “What are our hopes and aspirations for our district in the long term and what can we do today to influence 2050,” Mayor Boult said.

The work needed to draw on a number of initiatives and thought pieces that had already been enabled in the community through various forums including Shaping Our Future. It must reflect many voices and key concepts, including tangata whenua, the rich heritage of the area, today’s diverse communities, and the business and tourism perspective, he said. 

“My hope is that this critical work can transcend individuals, agendas, and politics and affiliations and take us all back to the core values of why we are passionate about this great place,” Mayor Boult said.

Council had identified a guiding thread through the 2018-2028 Ten Year Plan Process which speaks to vibrant communities, enduring landscapes and bold leadership. “That sets a strong foundation from which we can build a longer-term community vision. I think our communities are more than ready for this work. I think our environment demands it,” Mayor Boult said. 

Sustained growth in the district meant the work was pertinent to residents and visitors alike. 

“I want the legacy of today’s community to enable the community of 2050 and beyond to continue to hold a passion and love for this incredible environment, this incredible place,” he said. 

The first step was to identify the challenges and opportunities presented by the work and pose a set of questions. To support the journey in its formative stages Mr Boult convened a small and diverse set of thinkers this week to traverse the issues as a first step in this process. 

“That has been enormously valuable and supportive. Our next step will be to bring together a broad and highly representative forum of people from across the district and beyond to work through those questions with a goal to ultimately engage the whole community on a set of potential objectives for our future. I envisage that this work will cover many issues, including where and how we live, how we move around the district, what will be the economic drivers and, importantly whether there is a finite number of visitors we can host in the district without detracting from the amenity and environmental values we all treasure.”

The work would then drill down to the ‘how’ in terms of meeting those objectives. It will be challenging work and at times it may be confronting but the star of the show is our enduring landscapes, not the aspirations of any one generation. There were numerous international case studies to draw on as to how to avoid the unbridled ruination of premier destinations. 

Mayor Boult firmly believed that the success of such an ambitious project was reliant on a partnership approach that the community, the council, the mana whenua, the tourism sector, the business community and central government, and abundant stakeholders, could both respect and adhere to. 

The early conversation had thrown up some truly innovative and provoking thought, including a desire to package up the work in highly accessible, inspirational and visual forms to breathe some life into the process.  

“Ultimately this work will influence and shape all things we do as a Council beyond the scope of any of our existing long-term planning and thinking and I have no doubt it will challenge us. This work is also well timed in relation to the long-term spatial planning that Council has underway. My hope is that it will remain relevant and enduring for decades to come. That is ‘my’ vision,” Mayor Boult said.



For more information please contact the QLDC Communications team via  or call 03 441 1802