Company law cited over airport aims [ODT, 26/02/20]

Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult has warned his council it potentially could be taken to court by Auckland International Airport.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council (75.01%) is the majority owner of the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) and Auckland International Airport (24.99%) the minority owner.

At a meeting yesterday, the council adopted a “statement of expectation” dictating to the QAC what the council expects to see in the QAC’s “statement of intent” next month.

During discussion of one of the three amendments to the statement of expectation, Mr Boult said he did not think the council should “lock themselves into a position” before consultants MartinJenkins delivered to council their airport development economic and social impact studies.

“I would not like us to be placed in a position where we are subject to legal challenge by the minority shareholder.

“I’m very worried if we did this that we’d place ourselves in a position of effectively disadvantaging one of the shareholders to the advantage of another shareholder.

“And, under company law, without going and looking at the rule book, I’m rather sure we’d put ourselves in some strife.”

He and Cr Penny Clark voted against the amendment — moved by Cr John MacDonald — which leaves the QAC committed to “no further changes” to noise boundaries at Queenstown Airport until the economic and social impact assessments were completed.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group chairman Michael Ross said after the meeting Mr Boult’s warning told him the “tail was wagging the dog”.

“Auckland International Airport is controlling things and certainly not the council.”

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