Ombudsman asked to rule on survey data

The Ombudsman will be asked to decide how much data the Queenstown Lakes District Council is entitled to from a survey done on its behalf by consultant Martin Jenkins.

The council paid the company $205,000 to research public opinion on air traffic to the district, and received its report last month.

However, the company has declined QLDC requests for the raw survey data, and Cr Nikki Gladding is now preparing a complaint to the Ombudsman.

"It’s very clear that one of the deliverables was the survey, and we’ve paid for it and therefore, to me, we own the data," Cr Gladding said yesterday.

MartinJenkins declined to hand it over because it had legal advice that doing so would be contrary to the Privacy Act.

Cr Gladding noted the survey was anonymous with "no identifiers anywhere, unless you chose to put them in".

She believed any privacy issues would be overcome by making the data confidential to the council or by having any identifying details of survey respondents redacted.

The survey was based on four scenarios for air traffic which encompassed the status quo, expanding noise boundaries for Queenstown Airport, developing Wanaka Airport for scheduled services, and building a new Queenstown airport.

Cr Gladding said she wanted the survey’s raw data to see what other scenarios were raised as preferred options — such as turbo-prop aircraft, rather than jet aircraft, using Wanaka Airport.

She also wanted to read any other comments about governance of the district’s airports and ‘‘over tourism’’.

A council spokesman said councillors were considering an offer by MartinJenkins to provide further analysis of the data based on differing perspectives.

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