QAC alteration adopted

Vanessa van Uden
Vanessa van Uden
A revised Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) constitution has been adopted, without lowering the board's $70 million transaction consultation threshold, sought by two councillors.

At yesterday's last full Queenstown Lakes District Council meeting of the year the majority of councillors supported council's adoption of the draft constitution for the purposes of discussion with co-shareholders, Auckland Airport.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden in July cracked down on the QAC, leading a move to change its statement of intent - one of the documents that allowed the QAC board to sell shares secretly to Auckland Airport in 2010.

The $27.7 million deal had the QAC creating and selling a new 24.99% shareholding, starting a nine-month legal saga, the after-effects of which are still unfolding.

Crs Russell Mawhinney and Cath Gilmour both raised concerns about the constitution, and in particular, the extent of transactions directors could carry out without consulting shareholders.

"The problem I see with that is that the company's worth $140 million and a majority transaction is one of half the value of the company," said Cr Mawhinney.

He instead moved the consultation be adopted with a smaller $35 million consultation threshold.

General manager regulatory and corporate services Roger Taylor said 50% thresholds were the norm as set out in the Companies Act and did not think a decrease to 25% would make a difference.

Auckland Airport will next be engaged regarding the constitution and any changes will be brought back to the QLDC for adoption before it can be adopted by the QAC.

Cr Gilmour was not reassured and did not "have faith in the statement of intent process" which nearly let the QAC board pass last-minute changes picked up by Ms van Uden.

Ms van Uden, however, believed that timely observation had demonstrated the process did work.

"The reality is, it did get changed," Ms van Uden said.

"These are our requirements as shareholders, reading a statement of intent and making sure our requirements are there."

Mr Taylor's report said the amendments sought to provide protection to QLDC's shareholding at 75.01% and would trigger QLDC purchase rights of Auckland Airport's shares in the case of any change in ownership or control.



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