Some Queenstown councillors were concerned yesterday when 12
of 19 items on a council meeting agenda were moved into
But acting mayor John S Wilson defended the move, saying the
items would eventually come before the full council at an
Cr Vanessa van Uden described the move as "over the top",
saying councillors were accountable to the public.
"We are representing a shareholder in these matters, which is
the ratepayers. The public has every right to hear the
"Sometimes there is a valid and justified reason to exclude
the public ... we should be more open and transparent," she
Cr Lyal Cocks started a debate about the issue yesterday,
saying the reasons for moving each item into the non-public
arena had to be discussed.
Council chief executive Debra Lawson was in favour of the
"statements of shareholder expectations", regarding the
council-controlled organisations Lakes Leisure, Lakes
Environmental and the Queenstown Airport Corporation, being
discussed without the public (and media) present.
"The issue has not been before the council. It should, as a
matter of courtesy, be discussed here first, before it is
made public," she said.
Council regulatory general manager Roger Taylor backed up his
"It is about having a frank and honest discussion here [at
the council meeting] before it is made public," Mr Taylor
After the meeting, Cr van Uden said there was nothing in the
discussion which was confidential.
"I still do not see a reason to discuss it behind closed
doors," she said.
Cr Cath Gilmour also queried the exclusions, while Crs John
Mann and John S Wilson spoke in favour of the specific items
being discussed in private.
When the vote ended in four votes for exclusion (Crs Wilson,
Mann, Mel Gazzard and Lex Perkins) and four votes against
(Crs Cocks, van Uden, Gilmour and Gillian Macleod), Cr Wilson
used his casting vote as deputy mayor and chairman of the
meeting to enforce the exclusion of the public.
Items discussed with the public excluded: Wanaka
Lakeview Holiday Park; purchase of land, Shotover River;
terms and conditions for Frankton Marina lease; Queenstown
Aquatic Centre coil failure; Queenstown Aquatic Centre fast
hydroslide; panel contractors framework contract;
authorisation for mediation over appeals to plan change 16,
Three Parks; resource consent appeal, Spruce Grove; statement
of shareholder expectations; legal services; council tax
losses; appointment of director for Queenstown Airport
Items open to the public: Mayor's and chairpersons'
reports; chief executive's report; objection to a menacing
dog classification; Local Government New Zealand conference
in Auckland; removal and disposal of refuse bylaw 2010;
Queenstown Lakes District Council speed limits bylaw 2009,
amendment No 1 of 2010; making plan change operative: plan
change 28, trails.