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Wanaka Stakeholders Group puts Mayor and Councillors on notice

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

In a letter sent to all QLDC Councillors this afternoon, Wanaka Stakeholders Group Inc. warned Councillors that agreeing to the modified Statement of Intent from Queenstown Airport Corporation at next Monday's full Council meeting in Queenstown would be in breach of the Local Government Act 2002. They warned "the SOI process followed by QLDC (and QAC) is in breach" of the Act.

The letter, sent by the Committee, also highlighted that advice that the Council has received is wrong, in that it does not "address the previous and present unlawfulness of the Council's decision making" and that requirements and processes to be followed by QLDC in relation to the SOI "have not been correctly followed or understood by Council." The group confirmed that their letter could be "produced to the High Court" as part of judicial review proceedings, and that all communications from WSG to QLDC "will continue to be publicly disclosed" despite a request from the Mayor to the contrary.

"We are dealing with matters of concern to thousands of members of the Wanaka and Upper Clutha communities in particular. They all have a right to be kept fully and accurately informed. Furthermore, the community has not had the opportunity to have any public debate on these matters. Council has refused our requests for public discussion via further consultative processes or appropriate agenda items."

Wanaka Stakeholders Group is the membership organisation of any kind to have formed in the Upper Clutha area. According to deputy chair Mark Sinclair, the group is made up of a full cross section of the community. "We reached the milestone of 2,500 members this afternoon," he said. "Numbers are important, as they show the scale of concern. Our membership continues to grow, as the community is increasingly aware and concerned at the lack of consultation, community involvement or transparency coming from QLDC around these issues." Mr Sinclair says that the group's members include over 430 people who are owners, shareholders or managers of local businesses, including tourism, hospitality, farming and retail businesses. "Across the board, we are hearing deep frustration that our community is not being heard, and that decisions about our future are being made without our involvement."

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