Airport key topic at Kelvin Heights meeting

Queenstown's council needs to get hands-on when it comes to the future of the resort's airport, council hopefuls have argued.

The airport was, unsurprisingly, a hot topic at last night's candidates meeting at Kelvin Heights, and one that showed a clear divide between prospective councillors and incumbents.

Some, like John Glover, said the airport needed more direction from the council.

"The airport is like a wayward child - it's got no boundaries and it's just doing what it thinks is best to please mum and dad," he said.

"And it's been getting some really, really mixed messages, so suddenly there's been an outcry.

"The whole system's broken down."

Candidate AJ Mason said the Queenstown Airport Corporation had been acting simply as a company, rather than a council-controlled trading organisation that was required to take on community objectives.

"It's not simply a company that the council happens to own."

Incumbent councillor John MacDonald urged caution, saying the council could go down the legal route and spend a lot of money, and still get nowhere.

"We're trying to keep the communication going with the airport corporation to get the result we want."

That result was no further extension of the airport noise boundaries.

He pointed out the current council had rejected the airport's statement of intent twice already, and if the board did not listen to what the council wanted, "they won't be the board".

"At the end of the day, that's where it's going to go, but let's not go there in a rush."

He said he wanted more local directors on the airport board.

Another candidates meeting, in Frankton, will be held tonight.

It is expected to be the final meeting for Wakatipu ward candidates before the election on October 12.

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