Deputy mayor ousted from airport group

Calum MacLeod
Calum MacLeod
Queenstown Lakes deputy mayor Calum MacLeod has been ejected from the group opposed to commercial development of Wanaka Airport.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group (WSG) chairman Michael Ross emailed Mr MacLeod yesterday morning to inform him
he had been ‘‘removed’’ as a member of the group following a discussion among the its ‘‘core team’’.

‘‘After brief discussion, we’ve agreed that you should be removed as a member of WSG, largely because of your current role on council and the fact that you are not a supporter of WSG (by your own admission).’’

Mr MacLeod said yesterday the move was ‘‘just disappointing’’.

‘‘The message it sends about exclusion versus inclusion is clear and sad to see.’’

Mr MacLeod said he had never declared himself to be ‘‘not a supporter of WSG’’.

‘‘I am neither for nor against the development of the Wanaka Airport.

‘‘I have simply said [during last year’s election campaign] that what we needed to do at Wanaka Airport was to move ahead very carefully.

‘‘Any development at Wanaka Airport is simply a measure of us as a growing community.’’

Mr MacLeod said his expulsion was ‘‘a sign of the times and the oversimplification of issues which stifles debate into absolutes of in or out, black or white, right or wrong’’.

‘‘This is an extension of this negative polarity and in our wee piece of paradise is not only disappointing it is extremely troubling.’’

Mr Ross responded late yesterday that membership of WSG was open to ‘‘those who oppose a jet airport in Wanaka’’.

‘‘If Calum decides in the future to openly and clearly oppose the development of a jet-capable Wanaka Airport both via his words and actions, we’d welcome him back as a member.’’

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