Council questioned over involvement in Waikato land purchases

Queenstown man Basil Walker is questioning an Otago Regional Council subsidiary company's involvement in land purchases in the Waikato.

In an open letter to the council, its councillors and the media, Mr Walker asked the council to provide information on 15 issues relating to Chalmers Property Ltd's involvement in Waikato land deals and the council use of ratepayer funds.

Mr Walker told the Otago Daily Times his questions are a continuation of his efforts to stop ORC part-funding the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

He has appealed the June High Court at Dunedin decision relating to his unsuccessful challenge of the funding.

Chalmers Property is the property subsidiary of Port Otago, which is wholly owned by the council.

The 15 issues he wanted information on included the joint venture partners and percentage of holdings, the involvement of any Chalmers Property director, regional council councillor or staff member and any council risk analysis report.

In his notice of appeal, which Mr Walker forwarded to the ODT he said he was appealing the decision on the grounds it was "erroneous in law and fact".

The grounds for Mr Walker's appeal included that the council had exceeded its "allowable lawful jurisdiction" under its long term council community plan and he sought a declaration it was "unlawful" for the council to resolve to proceed with funding the stadium before the plan was adopted or consultation completed.

He also called for an order quashing any resolution to proceed with part-payment for the stadium until all planning had been completed and the quashing of claims that agreements from various organisations relating to the stadium were unconditional.

Council chairman Stephen Cairns said when contacted, Mr Walker needed to take his questions to Chalmers Properties.

Council staff had already "wasted enough of ratepayers' money" answering Mr Walker's many questions, he said.


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