Wānaka Stakeholders Group Inc. (WSG) wrote to Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), formally requesting that they immediately put a halt to further reports, until the High Court judicial review case about Wānaka Airport is heard.
WSG Chair, Michael Ross, said: "Despite the fact that we've issued proceedings in the High Court and raised significant concerns about key decisions the council has made, QLDC is barreling ahead with impact reports about Wānaka Airport. This is a waste of ratepayers' money — and the costs will be significant. The court should determine the issues first."
Mr Ross said that newly elected councillors should "do the right thing" rather than allowing council to "charge ahead with further reports about airport development."
In response, Mayor Boult said, “I have to admit to a level of surprise that the Wānaka Stakeholder Group has asked for a halt to the assessments. Whilst there is a connection, the undertaking of these assessments does not rely on nor inform the outcome of the Wānaka Stakeholder Group’s judicial review of the Wānaka Airport lease process. The independent recommendations and findings will be of great value regardless.
“The core intent of these assessments is to ensure that strategic and operational decisions around the future of our districts airports can be informed by independent analysis of the pros and cons economically and socially, including the effect on our environment. They’ve been asking for more consultation and the Council has already committed that these assessments will include community engagement to hear all voices in this discussion. Isn’t this what well-informed, balanced decision-making for the whole community is about?
“We have yet to confirm the final cost for these assessments, as Council staff are finalising the scope with the MartinJenkins team. However, I can confirm it will pale in comparison to the very significant amount of ratepayer money that will need to be spent defending the Wānaka Airport lease process in the judicial review brought by Wānaka Stakeholder Group.”