Airport expansion judicial review update

On Monday, one of our barristers obtained orders from the High Court – the first key steps in relation to the judicial review we have lodged. We had to wait for written confirmation before updating our members yesterday. We can now share the update with the rest of the community.

Here’s our message to members below …

With only a few days to run until Christmas, and a day of sunshine in Wanaka (we celebrate those!), we have a positive update for you about key steps which took place this week towards the judicial review we have lodged with the High Court.

We are pleased to report that one of our senior barristers, Bob Hollyman QC, successfully obtained orders from a High Court judge on Monday to have our case heard as expeditiously as it can be. In practical terms that means that there will be a hearing, most likely in June or July next year. He also successfully obtained orders allowing for important pre-trial procedures and a hearing time of up to 5 days to allow us to cross examine QLDC and QAC witnesses if we need to apply to do that.

The first important pre-trial step is for us now to request disclosure to us of all relevant documents held by both QLDC and QAC. We will prepare and deliver to each of them by 29 January 2020 a list of the documents/categories of document which we request. Those documents are to be provided by QLDC and QAC by 13 March.

WSG will file its affidavits in support of its case by 1st May. QLDC and QAC must each file their evidence by 5th June. 

We believe that the orders made by the judge are an important step in bringing our case to the High Court. 

With your continuing support we are committed to challenge and to bring before the the High Court for its review the lawfulness of what has occurred to pass substantial ownership and control of Wanaka airport and its future development to QAC and, in particular, the possibility that Wanaka airport will be converted by QAC into a busy jet-capable airport without any such decision having been first made with full and open prior community consultation by QLDC and without there having been any full and careful prior consideration by QLDC of all the factors relevant to such a decision that a public body must take into account. 

As recently as last week, we have had to repeat our objections to continuing steps by QLDC, apparently supported by QAC, to agree to a Statement of Intent recording various agreements in relation to QAC’s operation and development of Wanaka Airport. We have also objected to the commissioning of various reports in the process being followed by QLDC (at considerable expense no doubt). The steps are all on the premise that the so-called “lease” and certain related side agreements with QAC were validly entered into. Therefore the taking of any such steps should logically await the review by the High Court. At present, QLDC is refusing to wait. We have recorded our position with QLDC, therefore, that the validity of these subsequent steps will also be subject to the court’s determinations in due course. 

We all believe that the future and the health and well-being of our community and the sustainability of its amenities are fundamentally at stake. We will continue to fight to ensure that the community’s legal rights to be consulted are fully respected and that our council complies with all requirements, and properly considers all relevant factors, before such significant decisions are made and a publicly owned strategic asset removed from the community’s full ownership and control.

Thank you as ever for your support.  Look out for a special announcement between Christmas and New Year, to share with friends, visitors and family.

Meantime, wishing you a safe, merry and (hopefully) sunny Christmas in Wanaka, or further afield.

The Committee, Wanaka Stakeholders Group Inc.

If you haven’t already joined Wanaka Stakeholders Group Inc. to get updates from us and to add your voice to over 3,000 current members, please do so here.

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