‘Not appropriate’ for mayors to discuss Tarras airport plan – Dalziel [Star News, 03/12/20]

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has told Queenstown’s mayor it is “not appropriate” and potentially in breach of the law for them to discuss matters surrounding the plan to establish an airport in Central Otago.

Christchurch International Airport Ltd, of which the Christchurch City Council is a majority shareholder, is planning to construct an airport in the small farming settlement of Tarras.

Last month, Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult sent a letter to Dalziel which expressed his disappointment about the plan and asked Dalziel for her views on the matter.

Dalziel’s response to the letter last week led to Boult seeking legal advice. He refused to reveal why and declined to reveal the nature of the discussion.

Dalziel also said it was not appropriate for her to comment on Boult seeking legal advice and would not discuss the contents of her reply to Boult’s letter.

However, Dalziel’s letter, obtained by The Star through the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, shows she told Boult it was not appropriate for the two of them to be discussing the matter.

“Your letter put me on notice about our respective obligations and I have taken advice to make sure that we stay on appropriate ground.

“The advice that I have received is that you and I should approach all communications on this subject on the basis that we are associated with competitors.

“Accordingly, it is not appropriate for us to engage and discuss this matter as doing so could give rise to a breach of the Commerce Act 1986.

“I look forward to working with you on the other matters of importance to our respective communities,” the letter reads.

Both Dalziel and Boult again declined to comment on the situation.

Boult has also sent a separate letter on the planned airport to Queenstown Airport Board chairwoman Adrienne Young-Cooper.

He labelled the plan a “predatory activity” designed to attack the value of Queenstown Airport, which the district council is a majority shareholder of.

Read this in full here.

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