QAC gains rights in Wanaka Airport push [ODT, 22/08/19]
Queenstown Airport Corporation has been granted Requiring Authority for “The operation, maintenance, expansion and development of the airport known as Wanaka Airport “
The authority, granted on 5 August, allows the corporation to, amongst other rights, compulsorily acquire private land for its projects. It also allows them to:
- apply to the local authority to designate land. (A designation is a provision in a district plan that gives notice to the community that a requiring authority intends to use land in the future for a particular work or project)
- undertake works in an emergency and get resource consents after the work has been done
- go on to private land (after giving notice) to undertake investigations.
Formerly, this authority sat with QLDC, and in June the Wanaka Stakeholders Group wrote to the Minister for the Environment outlining its concerns about the authority being transferred to QAC. The group pointed to the Resource Management Act requirement that, to satisfy the granting of the authority, the applicant
“…will give proper regard to the interests of those affected and to the interests of the environment.”
and argued that neither of these conditions had been met by QAC in regards to the proposed development of Wanaka Airport. The Minister’s response at the end of July noted that no decision had yet been made, and that if granted acquiring authority, QAC would still be bound by the RMA, and required to “evaluate options and provide specialist assessments on project and environmental effects before designating land” It also noted these applications were generally notified. Five days later the Requiring Authority was granted.