Vanessa van Uden
More than 100 employees face an uncertain future after
the Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday decided to
disestablish Lakes Leisure Ltd and Lakes Environmental Ltd.
The announcement followed an organisational review, led by
former Auckland Regional Council chief executive Peter
Winder, which was discussed in a public-excluded council
meeting in Queenstown yesterday.
Mayor Vanessa van Uden said other than savings from the cost
of boards of directors, she did not know how much money the
council could expect to save, because the future structure of
the council-controlled organisations (CCOs) was yet to be
Staff from both organisations were told at 3pm yesterday.
The review, announced last December, seemed largely to be
focused on Lakes Environmental. However, at the beginning of
this month, Ms van Uden said it had been extended to include
When asked by the Otago Daily Times on March 1 if the council
intended to disband Lakes Leisure, Ms van Uden said: ''No.''
Lakes Environmental chief executive Hamish Dobbie and board
member Mike Coburn declined to comment yesterday. Board
chairwoman Anne Urlwin and members Jeff Brown and Nick Brown
could not be contacted.
However, Lakes Leisure board chairman Peter Faul said he was
told of the review's outcome yesterday morning.
''I'm not going to comment on whether it's the best outcome
or not, [but] naturally the board is disappointed.
''A new board was formed late last year that had a lot of
Mr Faul said the board would have its last scheduled meeting
tomorrow when it would ''resolve to co-operate with the
shareholder through the transition''.
Mr Faul said there had been ''a lot of questions'' and
uncertainty from Lakes Leisure staff.
''They are all wondering whether they will be directly
affected, naturally. However, the council will go through an
Ms van Uden said the decision was a ''reflection of changing
circumstances, rather than any criticisms of the past'' but
not of the staff or governing bodies of the organisations.
''The case for re-integration for both organisations was
compelling ... [it] could not be overlooked by a council
hellbent on finding efficiencies and improving service.
''We are the only local authority to have these core
functions sitting in a CCO model. It's about the model. It's
not about the people.''
The aim of bringing the functions back into the council was
to make it a ''one-stop shop'', she said.
''If you want to hire a park to do something, you have to
come to council for part of the approval, you might have to
go to Lakes Environmental for the resource consent and you'll
have to go to Lakes Leisure to get it signed off.
''If we're trying to improve things, part of that isn't just
saving money. It's actually about getting efficiency by not
having someone have to traipse to four or five different
Ms van Uden said she and the councillors were mindful of the
uncertainty for staff at both organisations.
''These sorts of processes are very stressful ... don't for a
second think that we're not aware of that. We're seriously
trying to make this as painless as possible.''
While the two CCOs would have their functions transferred
into the council, it was anticipated staff resources within
the two organisations would also ''largely'' be transferred
to the council.
A draft report would be presented on April 2, followed by
staff consultation. The changes are due to take effect at the
end of June.
- Additional reporting Mountain Scene