Airport litigation fears addressed [ODT, 27/02/20]

Legal action against the Queenstown Lakes District Council is not on Auckland International Airport Ltd’s (AIAL) agenda.

In response to Otago Daily Times questions yesterday, Auckland Airport spokesman and board member Mark Thomson said the company respected and valued its partnership with the council “and we have never contemplated taking any legal action against them”.

The spectre of legal action was raised by Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult at a meeting on Tuesday when the council set out its expectations for the QAC’s statement of intent next month.

“I would not like us to be placed in a position where we are subject to legal challenge by the minority shareholder,” he said during discussion about the wording of the council’s statement of expectation.

AIAL owns 24.99% of the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) and the council 75.01%.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group chairman Michael Ross said Mr Boult’s comment was a sign of the “tail wagging the dog”.

“Auckland International Airport is controlling things and certainly not the council,” Mr Ross said.

Mr Boult responded yesterday, saying:

“That some have chosen to interpret my advice to surmise that Auckland International Airport is calling the shots is simply misleading nonsense.

“AIAL has never discussed or highlighted any intention to take legal action.”

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