WSG draws line in sand over airport next steps

Following on from an extraordinary Council meeting, we sent out this media release and letter (the letter is below).

[Media Release 27 August 2019]

Wanaka Stakeholders Group Inc. has this afternoon written to the Mayor, all QLDC Councillors and the board of Queenstown Airport Corporation, stating that without full disclosure of the agreements and contractual arrangements relating to Wanaka Airport, there is no point updating the QAC Statement of Intent.

The letter, which repeats previous requests for access to deals and contractual arrangements between QLDC and QAC, and also between QAC and Auckland International Airport, states that “up till now numerous requests to QLDC under LGOIMA to disclose the lease terms have been refused”. The group describes this as both “unacceptable and untenable” for reasons which it then goes on to explain in the letter.

The letter concludes: “There is no point in QAC presenting an updated Statement of Intent without the information we’ve asked for in this letter, and previously, being made available, including to all Councillors and the Wanaka Community Board.”

WSG membership stands at 2,712 people, of which 459 have reported that they are an owner, shareholder or manager of a “local business” in Upper Clutha.

[Ends]

The letter, is reproduced in full below:

The Mayor and all Councillors 
Queenstown Lakes District Council
Queenstown (By email, individually)

Tuesday 27th August 2019

Dear Mayor Boult and QLDC Councillors

  1. We want to know in unequivocal terms please what QLDC says or believes is its legal right and ability to control the decisions that are made over the future physical development (i.e. expansion) and, separately, over the extent of expanded aircraft operations at Wanaka Airport.
  2. In answering (1), it is essential that QLDC provide to us:
    1. The 100 year lease of Wanaka Airport to QAC, and
    2. Whatever documents between QLDC and QAC evidence the agreements suggested by QAC to have been reached in 2017 with QAC as per QAC’s current draft Statement of Intent (appendix 1).  In particular, whatever documentary material evidences the agreements summarised in the section on “Wanaka Guiding Principals”, specifically subparagraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If there is written material which expands upon the matters agreed in paragraphs 6, 7, 8 and 9, please also provide these to complete the picture.
    3. The strategic alliance agreement between AIAL and QAC (refer appendix 2), and any other contractual arrangements between AIAL on the one hand and either QAC or QLDC on the other, which legally affect either QAC’s operation of its business or QLDC’s rights to control or influence the operation by QAC of its business.
  3. (1) and (2) above need to be answered. The worth of Council’s recent resolution promising consultation with the community and reconsideration by QLDC of any key issues depends entirely on whether QLDC has retained all of (or sufficient of) its legal powers of ownership and control of Wanaka Airport.
  4. Up till now, numerous requests to QLDC under LGOIMA to disclose the lease terms have been refused.
  5. That is an unacceptable and untenable stance to take with the community because when QLDC made its 2016/2017 decisions to grant the lease to QAC it did so on the basis of saying to the community that it did retain control by “mechanisms retained in the lease” and by the “Statement of Intent process” (see “Statement of Proposal: Wanaka Airport – A Long-Term Lease” 2016, on 5th page). It is unacceptable now, when serious concerns are raised, to refuse to disclose the lease to the community. 
  6. There is no point in QAC presenting an updated Statement of Intent without the information we’ve asked for in this letter, and previously, being made available, including to all Councillors and the Wanaka Community Board.

Yours sincerely

The Committee, Wanaka Stakeholders Group Incorporated*
Per Mark Sinclair, Deputy Chair

Cc list: Wanaka Community Board members, CEO QLDC,
CEO QAC, Directors QAC (via CEO QAC)

* WSG membership as at 14:50 Tuesday 27/08/19 stands at 2,712 people.


APPENDIX 1 (p.18, Statement of Intent (revised)  dated 30 June 2019, debated in Council meeting 26 August 2019)

APPENDIX 2 (p.19, Statement of Intent (revised)  dated 30 June 2019, debated in Council meeting 26 August 2019)

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