A jet airport for wanaka – delayed but not yet off the table!

The above video was produced and shared widely before we took QLDC and QAC to the High Court, and won. But the messages in the video are still very important, and are at the heart of why Wānaka Stakeholders Group Inc. (WSG) exists, and has grown to be Wānaka’s largest ever single issue community group.

A big win (in court) for the Wānaka community

In 2020, after years of trying to get answers from council, and then many months of legal preparation, WSG spent a week in the High Court at Queenstown, seeking judicial review of decisions made by QLDC and QAC in relation to Wānaka Airport.

In April 2021, the Wānaka community was delighted to receive news that the High Court ruled in favour of the community. This was an historic decision of the High Court – it is very rare for a community to take on their council, and win. In this instance, the community won.

Below is a quick summary of where the issue stands, and links to key information to quickly bring you up to speed.

  • WSG’s media statement when the judgement was made public.
  • A copy of the full judgement and detailed summary for those who want to know more.
    • The 100 year lease over Wānaka Airport granted to QAC was deemed illegal, and was overturned.
    • This means that QLDC now once again owns and controls Wanaka Airport fully and has to consult openly and transparently before QLDC implements any decision to turn it into a jet capable airport or enable QAC to do so.
    • The judgement contains details of the secret “Strategic Alliance Agreement” between Queenstown Airport and Auckland Airport.
  • Although QLDC made the decision not to appeal the judgement, there has been no formal apology to the community or directly to WSG from Mayor Boult, CEO Mike Theelen or QLDC.
Our senior legal counsel consisting of Julian Miles QC, Bob Hollyman QC, Brian Latimour (far right) assisted by junior barrister Nic Lawrence, in the High Court in Queenstown, presenting our application for Judicial Review – which was ultimately successful.

The community seeks a Liaison Committee.

While the High Court decision effectively puts Wānaka Airport back into the hands of the community, this is far from over. We want to ensure that any plans for Wānaka Airport are transparent, and made with the full involvement and agreement of the comunity.

We recently discovered that QLDC had made provision for (but has never established) a Wānaka Airport Liaison Committee. For obvious reasons, WSG supports the establishment of such a committee, with appropriate members appointed to it. Find out more about this issue here.

What about proposals for a jet airport at Tarras?

We have updated our positioning around key issues in light of the impacts of Covid-19 and the recent announcement about Tarras International Airport. Find out more here.

What next?

Our recent letter to the PM, ministers and councillors has received responses. All three local Wānaka Ward councillors are against further development of Wānaka Airport – see full details here. We are still seeking clarification from the government, and this might take time.

We still need community support – please sign up and stay tuned in to this issue.

Importantly, please take a moment to sign up to join Wanaka Stakeholders Group Incorporated, to keep informed about developments and help give us a stronger voice.

%d bloggers like this: