Search warrant executed at Skyline company

A police officer was present when a search warrant was executed at Queenstown’s Skyline company as the council investigates whether the company played a role in exacerbating last year’s destructive floods.

The flooding, which occurred in September last year, led to a State of Emergency and dozens of homes being evacuated in the resort town, and caused millions of dollars of damage.

A spokesman for the Queenstown Lakes District Council confirmed it had served search warrants under the Resource Management Act on Skyline, which runs the Gondola and manages a significant forest.

‘‘The information requested relates to an active investigation underway.

‘‘A search warrant was executed under the RMA and a police constable is required to attend when council officers execute search warrants.

The aftermath of the forestry slash which plunged down Bob’s Peak and finished up in Queenstown...
The aftermath of the forestry slash which plunged down Bob’s Peak and finished up in Queenstown Cemetery yesterday.
"This is standard protocol under the Act. Council is not in a position to provide further comment until the investigation comes to a conclusion.’’

Queenstown recorded 87mm of rain on September 22 last year , equivalent to a month's rain in a day, the wettest day in 24 years, Niwa said.

At the time, Queenstown mayor Glyn Lewers said forestry slash was responsible for the damage that had led to the state of emergency being declared.

Cr Matt Wong spoke of the “mess” on Queenstown’s Brecon St, where footage captured slash debris washing through and blocking roads.

A nearby cemetery appeared to have taken a good brunt of the slip,  Cr Wong said at the time, with logs and slash scattered through the site.

Skyline chief executive Geoff McDonald said there was an insurance and regulatory investigation ongoing and he was not able to comment on either.