QAC, DQ and mayoral candidate comments on ZQN future and governance

Air NZ loading at ZQN

LWB’s Queenstown Business newsletter, 22 August 2022

LWB’s Queenstown Business newsletter played defence for ZQN this week, after an earlier commentary in LWB by Flightplan 2050 about opportunities offered for urban development on Frankton Flats land should Tarras Airport go ahead.

Commentaries were provided by QAC CEO Glen Sowry, DQ and four of the mayoral candidates on the link below, about their thoughts on ZQN, its future and its governance.

We Love Wakatipu Inc asked Sowry to clarify two of his comments, which seemed to offer more than either he or QAC have committed to in the past. The quotes and his clarifications follow…

Qn Business quote: “We’ve committed to operating within our existing noise boundaries for the next ten years and beyond.”

Glen’s further comment: Over the last year we have worked on our 10-year Strategic Plan which will be made public in the coming months. As part of that work, as you know, we have publicly committed not to seek an expansion to the existing air noise boundaries in that time. My statement refers to  the opportunity we have to carefully manage moderate and sustainable growth within that period and beyond within the existing air noise boundaries. That was certainly the intent of the statement.

Qn Business quote: “In the coming year there will be an opportunity for the communities across this region to contribute to the future of Queenstown Airport through the formal consultation on our draft master plan that we’ll be conducting in partnership with Queenstown Lakes District Council.”

Glen’s further comment: The importance of open dialogue with the communities of the Queenstown Lakes District regarding the future of Queenstown Airport is well understood and the board of directors and management team are genuinely committed to community consultation as we plan for the future of the airport.

With regard to stakeholder and community engagement on the Queenstown Airport master plan, our position was that it was not appropriate for QLDC to lead all engagement on the draft master plan as QLDC had proposed. This was because an airport masterplan is a complex and highly technical document that presents a long-term view. Whilst the QLDC residents are a priority stakeholder group, they are not the only stakeholder group. During the consultation process we must consult with the Civil Aviation Authority, Airways, our scheduled airline customers, and non-scheduled aviation operators, as well as our commercial tenants and the business community. The masterplan preparation process must also consider and satisfy important safety obligations, both aviation and seismic, and meet regulatory compliance obligations.

These governance responsibilities are well defined in legislation. QAC is an ‘airport authority’ under the Airport Authorities Act, a ‘council-controlled trading organisation’ (CCTO) under the Local Government Act, an ‘aerodrome operator’ under Civil Aviation Rule Part 139 and the Civil Aviation Act and a network utility operator and a requiring authority under section 166 of the Resource Management Act. Queenstown Airport must also be maintained as a lifeline utility under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act.

This position does not diminish the importance we place on structured community engagement.  Therefore, as outlined in the SOI we will follow a structured community engagement process on the Queenstown Airport draft master plan, once endorsed by Council, in partnership with QLDC, but not led by QLDC. Please refer to page 21 FY23 SOI which clearly states that we will follow a structured community engagement process on the Queenstown Airport draft master plan in partnership with QLDC, before a final master plan is prepared.

I do want to clearly reaffirm our commitment to community consultation as we plan for the future of the airport, and that that process will be developed and informed by the principles on consultation in s82 of the Local Government Act 2002, as noted in the SOI.

So now you know…

And here’s the link to Queenstown Business

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