Crux reveals Mayor Boult’s behind the scenes push for continued airport growth – except, of course, in Tarras.

Crux, 4 March, 2022

Crux’s Peter Newport says emails he’s obtained through official information legislation reveal strong behind-the-scenes lobbying by Queenstown Mayor Jim Boult for Queenstown Lakes airport growth and against the proposed Tarras International Airport. 

Boult’s emails show repeated and direct communications with Auckland and Queenstown Airport CEOs and QAC directors. One states he will “push” a trans-Tasman bubble idea from then-director Michael Stiassny to the Otago Daily Times. This is not how independent media is meant to work.

Sometimes he cc’s his trusted insiders – CEO Mike Theelen, corporate services manager Meaghan Miller and communications and governance manager Naell Crosby-Roe. However, the emails are not shared with his fellow councillors. Hmmmmm.

The thing is, he has confused his roles.  He is not meant to be acting as chair of RealNZ, the South Island’s biggest tourism company, nor as CEO of the council.

As Mayor of the council that owns three quarters of the airport company (and Wanaka Airport), his role is to act within “the formal governance structures that are designed to deliver accountability, adherence to policy, transparency and community engagement,” as Crux says.

That means any line he is pushing should have first been discussed and agreed with his councillors. And they should know what he is advocating, to whom, and for whose benefit. They should not find out through the media.

He should be representing his community – who have made quite clear their opposition to expansion at both Queenstown and Wanaka airports. He has no mandate to meddle in airport proposals outside his district – nor speak, unbidden and uninformed, on either that community’s or our community’s feelings on it.

LINK to the article in CRUX

Photo credit: David Williams

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