Official Information Request to QLDC re 2020 Airport Growth Consultation

On August 8,2019, Mayor Jim Boult unilaterally announced council’s decisions on airport growth would be guided by economic and social impact assessments and that there would be community input into them.  So far – five months later – we still don’t know how.  Some community groups were alerted on February 2nd, 2020, they’d be invited to focus group sessions by consultants MartinJenkins, but they’d have to respond quickly because there was limited space.  Interestingly, none of the three community groups formed expressly in response to QAC expansion plans were invited.  

Tourism operators identified as ‘key stakeholders’ were consulted pre-Christmas.  But, with just five weeks to go before the draft QAC statement of intent that Mayor Boult said the assessments were to inform is due for councillors’ agreement, we still don’t know how our general community is to be consulted. Who really are the ‘key stakeholders,’ though – those businesses who’d extract value from airport expansion or the community who’d live with the myriad downstream ramifications?

We Love Wakatipu started asking council for details of the consultation input back in November.  We have received vague statements or obfuscation each time.  We have been told we will get a response to this latest request within the 20-day legal time frame.  We believe this information should already be public.  We, the ratepayers, are paying for the MartinJenkins’ consultation and QLDC is required by the Local Government Act to “enable democratic local decision-making and action” by and on behalf of its communities.  But even our councilors have not been allowed to see the list of those consulted – or yet to be consulted – or had input to the process.

Here’s our email to CEO Mike Theelen

From: Cath Gilmour
Sent: Tuesday, 4 February 2020 2:59
To: Mike Theelen
Subject: LGOIMA request re-airport growth
impact assessment key stakeholder lists and QAC SOI process

Hi Mike,

I make the following requests for information under LGOIMA.

  • The list of stakeholders consulted with by MartinJenkins (and any council staff involved), towards the airport growth social and economic impact assessments, prior to Christmas.
  • The list of stakeholders who were contacted by MartinJenkins prior to February 4th, alerting them to planned mid-February community focus groups for these assessments and inviting them to take part.
  • The list of stakeholders provided by QLDC to MartinJenkins to be included throughout the consultation process.
  • The grounds on which community groups, businesses and individuals were included on this list.
  • An explanation of why none of the three publicly identified community groups formed expressly to represent our community on airport growth issues – We Love Wakatipu Inc, FlightPlan2050 and Wanaka Stakeholders Group – have not as yet been contacted as stakeholders.
  • The Terms of Reference for the airport growth social and economic assessments.
  • The process through which our councillors are or have already set their strategic objectives for QAC to achieve through its SOI.
  • The process through which they have prepared and confirmed their letter of expectations for QAC to shape the draft SOI.

I much look forward to getting full and frank responses to these questions.

I believe that the information I have requested should be in the public arena to enhance transparency, participation and accountability for decisions that would have major, widespread and far-reaching effects on the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of our district and communities in the present and future.

Thank you
Kind regards
Cath Gilmour
We Love Wakatipu Inc Chair

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