Call for review of QAC matters

Photo: ODT files
Central government is again being called on to review the actions of a southern local authority.

This time it is the Queenstown Lakes District Council and its handling of airport-related matters.

Spokeswoman for the Protect Queenstown lobby group, Cath Gilmour said yesterday she had written to Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta calling on her to review the QLDC's governance of its 75%-owned Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC).

Ms Gilmour, a former QLDC councillor, requested a ministerial review of the QLDC's "poor governance'' of the QAC which "subverts the legislation’s intent, community wellbeing and our rights to democratic decision-making and actions".

Protect Queenstown was formed to fight QAC plans to expand noise boundaries around its airport at Frankton.

Ms Gilmour listed matters where she believed correct processes had not been followed, particularly those related to the QAC's statement of intent (SOI).

"The repeated and ongoing misstatements in the SOI agenda items suggest incompetence and/or a deliberate attempt to corral councillors into a pro-growth SOI, against the consistent and strong opposition of the community, whose wellbeing is their mandated responsibility."

Asked to respond, the council said Ms Gilmour had taken numerous opportunities to address it.

"These matters were addressed by Ms Gilmour at full council in public forum on June 30, 2021.

"The majority of council subsequently agreed the SOI."

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult had no comment.

The Government has been drawn into two recent local government matters in the South.

In 2019 a review of the Otago Regional Council's freshwater planning framework found it "not fit for purpose" and chairwoman Marian Hobbs was voted out soon after.

Last year, the Department of Internal Affairs launched an investigation into Invercargill City Council governance matters, leading to reform but with Mayor Sir Tim Shadbolt still in the job.

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