WSG makes submissions on Ten Year Plan

This morning, WSG made verbal submissions to QLDC as part of the Ten Year Plan consultation process.

Given some prior no-shows, and Councillors sitting in the room waiting for their missed “slots” to tick over, WSG Chair Michael Ross stood up and asked if we could submit early or even have extra time (over our allotted five minutes) for Q&A with Councillors. Mayor Boult declined, as that “wouldn’t be fair” to other people. One of the subsequent speakers also finished early, and kindly offered up her “remaining time” to WSG, but Mayor Boult would not allow that also.

WSG Committee Member Meg Taylor read out the verbal submission, with Michael Ross beside her at the desk. Some councillors appeared to engage. QLDC’s CEO didn’t look up from his laptop.

Meg submitted on behalf of the 3,515 current members and with the full support of five Upper Clutha residents associations. She said: “The recent High Court decision overturning the unlawful lease from QLDC to QAC has sent a strong directive back to council that consultation and council process has hitherto been inadequate. Communities must be consulted and consulted well” and noted that all reference to the dual airport strategy should be removed in all planning documents.”

On growth, WSG submitted: “A town that plans well for its residents will also be a town that is attractive to visitors in the long term. If you refuse to manage growth and ignore the concerns of locals you will destroy Wanaka and Queenstown both as places to live and as high-quality destinations. A sustainable policy for air services is vital to the economic and social wellbeing of the communities within the Queenstown Lakes.” WSG submitted that there is a “fundamental disconnect between council’s stated aspirations in the Spatial Plan and Ten Year Plan and its strategy for air services.”

Meg moved on to problems with the consultation, asking: “How many individuals have felt empowered to submit on the TYP & SP and in 30 days come to grips with 680 pages of documents, policies and budgets? How many feel their views will be ignored?” She pointed out other issues, including “unrealistic population figures.”

She finished WSG’s submissions with a focus on the environment and climate change.

“We have a national commitment to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Nearly two years ago QLDC declared a climate emergency. The Minister for Tourism and the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment have advised that tourism must factor in climate obligations. At this stage QLDC has an unfinished and weak climate action plan and a carbon emissions road map which is referred to but not published. Neither appear to inform the draft SP or TYP.”

Meg concluded: “There is a way forward for Council, if you are willing to engage lawfully with this community,” adding: “Show bold leadership. Tackle growth. Tackle climate change. There is no doubt that this district will grow. Whether it does “grow well” is up to you.”

At which stage WSG’s five minutes were up, and Mayor Boult concluded the morning session so that Councillors could have lunch.

Today’s full verbal submissions are below, and here are our original written submission (submitted before the High Court ruling).

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