Mayor’s proxy role questioned

Jim Boult. Photo: ODT files
Jim Boult. Photo: ODT files
The Queenstown Lakes District Council will be asked to rescind one of its first decisions of the new term, relating to mayor Jim Boult being appointed the proxy for Queenstown Airport — at Mr Boult’s request.

The council appointed Mr Boult on October 24 — it was a late addition to the agenda because the airport was having its meeting the following day, and the council needed to attend for a quorum of a majority of the shareholders to be reached.

The initial report, prepared by general counsel Alice Balme, said for ‘‘reasons of practicality and efficiency’’ the council appointed a proxy to attend meetings and exercise its voting rights in accordance with the airport’s constitution.

However, that decision was criticised by members of lobby group We Love Wakatipu — Cath Gilmour told councillors at the November meeting they should revoke the ‘‘unfettered three-year proxy’’, while Sally Stockdale said it was ‘‘curious’’ Mr Boult had been appointed for the entire council term.

In a report to yesterday’s council meeting, a new report from Ms Balme seeks to rescind the decision which appointed the proxy ‘‘with no restrictions’’ on October 24, and agree that ‘‘as required’’ the office of the mayor would be appointed as the proxy ‘‘subject to restrictions as required and subject to the proxy being exercised in accordance with the council’s direction’’.

Her new report said the council’s earlier decision, and any voting right exercised in accordance with the proxy, was lawful.

‘‘However, the mayor has requested that a report should be prepared to seek council approval to rescind the decision that approved the above proxy.’’

Ms Balme said Mr Boult wanted to ensure when a proxy was required, any exercise of voting rights would be subject to the direction of the council.

Her report also recommended the wording of the ‘‘proxy instrument’’ be amended, and agreed, each time the council needed to exercise its voting rights.

The proposed process would require the council to plan in advance instances where the proxy was to be exercised.

That would promote ‘‘democratic accountability’’ and ensure all councillors could voice their views on a particular decision, before voting.

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