You can’t take the company out of the mayor…
Otago Daily Times, 18 March 2020
QLDC cleared Mayor Jim Boult of conflict-of-interest claims over his chairmanship of the South Island’s biggest tourism company – Wayfare (owner of Real Journeys, Cardrona, Treble Cone, Go Orange and other tourism businesses) – as it was considered his board fee was not a substantive part of his income.
We Love Wakatipu Inc agrees with this part of the argument. But there are two other planks of “conflict-of-interest” that any professional or charitable board director would need to meet before they could claim there was no such conflict:
- That their role/relationship did not give them an interest greater than a general member of the public in an issue and
- That a general member of the public would not perceive there might be such a conflict of interest.
Under both of these tests, being chair of Wayfare must surely count as conflict when it comes to decisions like whether QAC should run our airports primarily for tourism growth, or to meet the community’s social, cultural, environmental and economic well-being as required under the Local Government Act.
His quotes in this article quite clearly show he sees the government’s Covid19 response through his business lens. That’s fine. But is it appropriate for a businessman with this lens on life to then lead, as Mayor, the council’s response to QAC’s push for airport growth, against our communities wishes?