Tempers flared at a
committee meeting yesterday as a Wanaka Community Board
member refused to be silenced during a spat about the
Queenstown Airport shares sales controversy.
Ken Copland said he was "disgusted by the whole affair" and
would not be silenced, despite warnings from committee
chairman John S. Wilson.
Mr Copland's remarks followed a financial report presentation
to the Finance And Corporate Accountability Committee by
Queenstown Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson, who
reported an operating revenue of $13.39 million for the
six-month period up to June 30 2010, an increase of 19% on
the 2009 figure.
After the presentation Mr Sanderson invited the committee to
ask questions regarding the report and Mr Copland responded.
"This all looks very good but you guys are often better known
for what you don't tell us," he said.
Cr Wilson reminded Mr Copland the subject of the shares
controversy was not relevant to the meeting.
"I warn you that this issue is being discussed outside of
council. This is a matter for the courts and is not open for
discussion," he said.
But Mr Copland continued: "I am an elected council man. I
have a duty to protect and vigilantly endorse our
representation to the ratepayers."
Cr Wilson then issued a further warning and asked for the
discussion to be closed but Mr Copland had not finished:
"Trying to cover up the whole affair doesn't make it
disappear. Making secret deals is simply not a good idea.
It's like a mini-Watergate, for goodness' sake."
The other six members of the committee did not speak. When Cr
Wilson moved that Mr Sanderson's report be received, only Mr
Copland and Cr Vanessa van Uden opposed the motion.
A strategic alliance was announced in July between the QAC
and Auckland International Airport Ltd. The latter bought a
24.9% shareholding for $27.7 million and may increase that to
between 30% and 35%, if invited by the QLDC, after public
Mr Copland is standing for re-election to the Wanaka
- Naeem Alvi