WSG writes to QLDC and QAC confirming legal action “within days”

Hot on the heels of this morning’s letter to QAC, Wanaka Stakeholders Group Inc. sent two letters – one to QAC and one to QLDC – confirming that the group is about to file for Judicial Review in relation to Wanaka Airport. Read them in full below.

Letter to Mayor Boult, Councillors and CEO of QLDC

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

Thursday 19th September 2019

Dear Mayor Boult, QLDC Councillors and Mr Theelan

Wānaka Airport – Judicial Review of QLDC’s and QAC’s actions and decisions

  1.  The recent public statements of QAC and QLDC coupled with QLDC’S failure or refusal to engage with us and to provide relevant assurances and key documents such as the “lease”  and demonstrating that QLDC still has control over the future of Wānaka airport, now make judicial review proceedings inevitable.
  2. As we have said before, the actions and decisions taken, and various agreements apparently reached between QLDC and QAC in relation to the Wānaka Airport (which we shall refer to as the “existing Wānaka Airport”) are unlawful, were illegal contracts and of no effect.
  3. In summary, the decisions and agreements entered into between QLDC and QAC not only authorise QAC to manage the “existing Wānaka airport” but also amount – in substance – to QAC acquiring control of the airport by the mechanism of a privately negotiated 100 year lease – enabling QAC to then alter and develop Wānaka Airport into a new and materially different airport operation.
  4. Accordingly, we write this letter to put you on notice that judicial review proceedings will be filed and served shortly. They will contend that: 
    1. In effectively handing over ownership and/or control of existing Wānaka airport to QAC by a 100 year “lease” (and, it would seem, various side agreements) following the so-called “consultation” QLDC carried out in 2016/2017, QLDC acted in breach of all or any of Sections 97 and/or 76, 77, 78, and 82 of the Local Government Act.
    2. The result of such breaches is that any contracts entered into with QAC to transfer any ownership or control of Wānaka airport, including the “lease”, were unlawful, were illegal contracts and of no effect.
    3. Additionally, the decisions of QLDC to enter into the “lease” and those side agreements were unreasonable and failed to take into account relevant matters and are judicially reviewable on those additional grounds.
  5. In addition, the proceedings will contend that various related conduct and decisions by QAC were in breach of Sections 58(1) and 60, and Sections 59(1)(a) and 59(1)(c) of the Local Government Act.
  6. The proceedings will seek appropriate declarations and other relief from the High Court as are needed to return existing Wānaka airport to the full public ownership and control of QLDC and to ensure that any moves to allow it to be developed, expanded and rebuilt so as to be capable of taking Code C jet aircraft operations are first subject to QLDC undertaking accurate and informed consultation fully compliant with the requirements of the Local Government Act.
  7. Thus, the Wānaka Stakeholders Group will be issuing judicial review proceedings to establish the unlawfulness and unreasonableness of the relevant decisions and actions and therefore to:
    1. prevent QLDC and QAC from formulating and acting upon any decisions to build and operate a “new Wānaka Airport”; and
    2. require QLDC – if it wishes to dispose of any part of its 100% ownership and control of the “existing Wānaka airport” – to comply fully with all applicable prohibitions and consultation requirements of the Local Government Act.

Yours sincerely

The Committee, Wānaka Stakeholders Group Incorporated*
Per Michael Ross, Chair

Cc list: Wānaka Community Board members, CEO QAC

* WSG membership as at 09:20 Thursday 19/09/19 stands at 2,948 people.


Letter to the directors of QAC

The Directors
Queenstown Airport Corporation Limited
Queenstown 
(By email, via QAC CEO)

Thursday 19th September 2019

Dear Directors

Queenstown Airport Corporation Limited (QAC) – Wānaka Airport – Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC)

  1. We refer to our letter sent earlier today.
  2. As noted there, the recent public statements of QAC and QLDC coupled with QLDC’S failure or refusal to engage with us and to provide relevant assurances and key documents such as the “lease”  and demonstrating that QLDC still has control over the future of Wānaka airport, now make judicial review proceedings inevitable.
  3. Accordingly, we write this letter to put you and the directors of QAC on notice that such proceedings will be filed and served shortly. They will contend that:
    1. In effectively handing over ownership and/or control of existing Wānaka airport to QAC by a 100 year “lease” (and, it would seem, various side agreements) following the so-called “consultation” QLDC  carried out in 2016/2017, QLDC acted in breach of all or any of Sections 97 and/or 76, 77, 78, and 82 of the Local Government Act.
    2. The result of such breaches is that any contracts entered into with QAC to transfer any ownership or control of Wānaka airport, including the “lease”, were unlawful, were illegal contracts and of no effect.
    3. Additionally, the decisions of QLDC to enter into the “lease” and those side agreements were unreasonable and failed to take into account relevant matters and are judicially reviewable on those additional grounds.
  4. In addition, the proceedings will contend that various related conduct and decisions by QAC were in breach of Sections 58(1) and 60, and Sections 59(1)(a) and 59(1)(c) of the Local Government Act.
  5. The proceedings will seek appropriate declarations and other relief from the High Court as are needed to return existing Wānaka airport to the full public ownership and control of QLDC and to ensure that any moves to allow it to be developed, expanded and rebuilt so as to be capable of taking Code C jet aircraft operations are first subject to QLDC undertaking accurate and informed consultation fully compliant with the requirements of the Local Government Act.

Yours sincerely

The Committee, Wānaka Stakeholders Group Incorporated*
Per Michael Ross, Chair

Cc list: Mayor, Councillors, CEO of QLDC, Wānaka Community Board Members

* WSG membership as at 09:20 Thursday 19/09/19 stands at 2,948 people.


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