We Love Wakatipu Inc submission on 2022 -2025 QAC Statement of Intent

2022-06-30, Full Council, SOI, Cath

We Love Wakatipu Inc commentary, 30 June 2022

Kia ora councillors and thank you for your time. I’m Cath Gilmour, chair of We Love Wakatipu.

I agree with the Wynn Williams advice that an effective relationship between Council and its council-controlled trading organisation must be based on mutual respect and trust.

However, I do not see respect and trust when QAC deliberately flouts your clearly expressed governance direction as they have in this SOI.

Nor from the council officials and legal professional charged with giving you the full, frank and objective advice you need for a good decision on this vital document.

Councillors unanimously directed QAC through your recent Statement of Expectations that both the 10 year Strategic Plan and the Airport Master Plan must be formally agreed by full council before implementation.

QAC has ignored your instruction on both fronts. Yet none of your three advisors has told you how the Local Government Act empowers you to ensure your governance direction is achieved.

This SOI says QAC will “seek endorsement” of shareholders on the masterplan.  This is meaningless obfuscation. The SOI makes clear that if you do not endorse it, QAC’s board has the right to approve it anyway.

They don’t even try this pretence with the strategic plan. Their KPIs say it will be delivered this financial year.  But neither council approval nor community consultation is required.

This SOI indicates the 2023 – 32 Strategic Plan already exists in some form. Do you know what is in it beyond the broad outline on pages 14 and 15?  Have you seen it, discussed it, agreed to it?

If not, and if you agree to this SOI, you are implicitly agreeing to a Strategic Plan you know no details of and you are explicitly accepting that QAC has the right to overrule your governance.

And our community then must suck up the as-yet unknown consequences of a CCTO that refuses governance control by the council mandated to do so.

Wynn Williams doesn’t even address this extreme arrogance in their legal advice. Nor does your executive team’s agenda item. They offer no justification, no rationale, no strategic response.

They don’t point out that the LGA expressly empowers you to direct QAC to meet council’s strategic objectives for our community.

Nor that that the principal objective of any CCTO is “to achieve the objectives of its shareholders, both commercial and non-commercial, as specified in the statement of intent”. (LGA s59)

They also forget to remind you of your legal powers under Schedule eight, part one, clause 6 of the LGA to not agree to the SOI, and instead stipulate the modifications you require. And that legally, QAC must then comply.

It is disturbing to note that this disempowerment of councillors has been a consistent feature of advice from all three of these advisors since 2019, as the email record I’ve sent you separately clearly shows.

Today, you could agree to QAC thumbing their nose at you like a rebellious teen, throwing off the inconvenient shackles of council control of this community’s most valuable land asset.

I urge you not to. You are the parent board and it’s time to exert your governance control.

Please resolve to not agree to this SOI but instead stipulate it be modified to fulfil your Statement of Expectations requirements.

Again, thank you for all your work on our community’s behalf.  I welcome any questions.

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