Mayor, QLDC “evasive and misleading” over Wanaka airport expansion [Crux, 21/09/20]
A High Court case in Queenstown kicked off today with a blistering attack on Mayor Jim Boult, QLDC managers and the Queenstown Airport Corporation over “extensive secrecy” that a Wanaka residents groups says makes airport expansion plans unlawful.
The outcome of the week long hearing will rest with the High Court’s Justice Van Bohemen
The judicial review has been launched by the Wanaka Stakeholders Group (WSG) that opposes Wanaka airport expansion. The group has almost 3,500 members, 50% of Wanaka’s adult population, and is claiming that QLDC and the Queenstown Airport Corporation failed to consult properly over a controversial 100-year lease that allows virtually unlimited airport expansion in Wanaka.
Julian Miles QC is representing the Wanaka Stakeholders Group
In his opening remarks to High Court Judge Justice Van Bohemen, Julian Miles QC, acting for the WSG, wasted no time making it clear to the court why the residents group believed the lease should be scrapped and the entire consultation exercise started “from scratch.”
“A QLDC document that was more or less a brochure used pretty pictures and comforting words to suggest that Wanaka airport expansion would be modest and not include commercial jet aircraft” Mr Miles told the hearing.
He went on to say that QLDC and QAC documents that were kept secret for years instead forecast a new Wanaka airport as big as the current Queenstown airport with jet aircraft taking off or landing every 10 – 12 minutes.
“Mr Boult and his council clearly held the view that massive tourism was for the benefit of the community as a whole.”