QLDC councillor and mayoral views on airport governance

We Love Wakatipu Inc survey responses and commentary 25 October, 2022

Here we gather responses from the successful candidates in this year’s Queenstown Lakes District Council election to We Love Wakatipu Inc’s survey on airport governance as a benchmark for their actions and votes over the next three years.

On the basis of these, we are optimistic that this new council’s governance of Queenstown Airport Corporation will strengthen, and the community’s clear pushback against the over-tourism that had already made itself felt pre-Covid will be listened and responded to.

Interestingly, none of the candidates who couldn’t find time to respond to our survey on this vital issue got elected.

Post-election, we approached the four successful Wānaka ward councillors with the same survey we had sent earlier to Wakatipu ward candidates, with the additional question of “what should the role of QAC in be in future governance of Wānaka Airport, and how should agreement on this be reached?” 

Their answers suggest a lower level of engagement and knowledge, except from deputy mayor Quentin Smith who has been an active proponent of stronger council governance over the past three years. Fair comments from the two newbies that they want to do their research before making public comment, especially as the High Court’s overturning of QLDC’s illegal lease of Wānaka Airport to QAC made this less of an election issue for them.

Here is a link to the “airport governance 101” primer sent with the survey, as a backgrounder for their governance roles, responsibilities and powers under the Local Government Act for QAC as a council-controlled trading organisation.

New mayor Glyn Lewers’ survey responses and voting record of the last three years showed him to be the mayoral candidate least likely to support stronger council governance of Queenstown Airport Corporation.

He was a member of the joint QAC-QLDC steering group that was meant to be a conduit between Council and QAC on governance issues, though they did not even meet this year.

As such, he potentially held a lot of influence to strengthen council governance and our communities’ democratic participation, and to promote our community, environmental, economic and social well-being. These are council’s roles and responsibilities under the Local Government Act. There was no evidence of him doing so.

His survey responses suggest that, of his own accord, he would continue this “hands off’ model. However, in his media comments since the election he has said he intends to listen to his councillors and reflect their perspectives, not just his own.

Taking him at his word, We Love Wakatipu Inc looks forward to this and the resultant stronger reflection of both his councillors’ and the community’s explicit calls for stronger governance of Queenstown Airport Corporation to prevent the negative downstream effects of over-tourism. Because a majority of those who signed up as our councillors on Thursday, October 20, say no to ANB expansion, yes to hands-on strategic planning, community involvement, council signoff of Strategic Plan and Master Plan and investigating opportunities/risks of the proposed Tarras International airport. It is too late for council signoff of the current Strategic Plan, handily produced just before the election, but councillors could require it for future iterations.

A quick tally of some of the survey results (you can read them in full below) shows:

  • 11 of 11 around the table said no to air noise boundary expansion at ZQN. QAC has already signed up to for the next 10 years, although they can still go ahead with planning to do so.
  • Six said council should be “hands on” in strategic planning for ZQN land in the next five decades; two say “hands off”; three were either “no comment” or not clear.
  • Eight agreed community should be involved; three gave either “no” or vague comments.
  • Council-led review of QAC’S constitution got a yes from five; “open to it” from one, not informed enough/no comment from three; no from two.
  • Council signoff of Strategic Plan had yes from seven, no from two, no comment from two.
  • Council signoff of Master Plan received yes from seven, “yes but” from two (mayor Lewers’ response suggested the current SOI requires council approval, which it doesn’t) and no response from two.
  • Investigating opportunities/risks of the proposed Tarras International Airport got a yes from six: a no from one; no response from two; one “take it seriously” and one saying not until it is a proven risk.

If you want to see what strong council governance would look like, check out Cr Niki Gladding’s suggested approach in her survey response.

For the full results, read on…

Scroll the page or go directly to:

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Mayor Glyn Lewers

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

The Air Noise Boundary expansion is off the table. The Airport and the Council have said no to any expansion over the last three years and have said no for the coming 10 years. So it’s a No

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

In my view, innovation and productivity gains come with a bottom-up approach; some may call it hands-off. The office of the Auditor General has endorsed this approach. We, as councillors, do not know how to run an airport. We have directed them to the plans we want them to follow. For example, the spatial plan, the current Airport governance team and the executive are doing an outstanding job in some of the most demanding operating conditions to respond to the many needs of the district’s community. They are currently thinking ahead for the next ten years and beyond. An airport needs to think long term as the infrastructure requirements are critical and long-lasting. I think the airport should be looking at diversifying its income from landing fees, utilising its unused land holding, and developing plans to enhance the user experience within the campus.

Tourism growth – your approach?

Implement the Destination Management plan. It is foolish to think we can control numbers, but we effectively limited arrivals by air by halting air noise boundary expansion for the next ten years. We now have to concentrate on land-based transport solutions to deal with the bounce back.

Community involvement?

As Frankton Community Chairperson I had easy access to the airport executive and could make the community’s voice heard. I have always found the airport executive approachable and keen to listen to the community. I am pleased that is what they will be doing with respect to the Master plan which will happen early next year.

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

We have already discussed this at the Council table, and it was decided not to go ahead, as we deemed it fit for purpose given the various legislative requirements an airport company has to meet.

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

The strategic plan is already in the draft; Council has given their feedback and will soon be released for all to see. It has not varied from the strategic outcomes listed in the current Statement of Intent, so there is no need to go back and relitigate an already approved process

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

This has already been decided. The Master plan will come to Council after it has been consulted on with the community.

[WLW note: The 2023-2025 Statement of Intent says the QAC board “will report the final master plan to shareholders and seek shareholder endorsement of the final master plan before any final approval by the board.” The word seek does not mean require, so the current SOI does not require council sign-off on the master plan. It will be shared with the council, but the SOI makes clear there is no requirement for the QAC board to act on any council feedback.]

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

If Tarras gets approval, QAC will have ample opportunity to assess the opportunities and risks. At this stage, I would rather have the airport concentrate on rebuilding its business after Covid for the well-being of the community.

As an incumbent councillor, you are welcome to explain your voting record during this term on the above issues.

I have voted in favour of all Statements of Intent. I stood for Council to halt noise boundary expansion and maintain the presence of the airport in Frankton. Each SOI from 2020 onwards had an explicit statement that Noise boundary expansion would not happen during the time of the SOI. The last SOI extended that to 10 years. I have avoided the tedious arguments around the periphery and concentrated on delivering on my word that the noise boundaries will not expand and the Airport is staying put. Three years later, that is precisely the case.

WLW comment: Technically correct on the SOI vote, but a false narrative of “tedious arguments around the periphery” in what WLW judges the most damaging airport voting record of current councillors. Cr Lewers consistently opposed other councillors’ moves to strengthen council’s QAC governance, usually alongside Mayor Boult but sometimes as a lone voice. He was a member of the QAC-QLDC steering group, in charge of guiding the two entities through the governance process each year. This put him in a position of strength to advocate for the SOI to include a QLDC strategic objective that QAC must continue to operate within the existing ANB – not just for the three years of the SOI. By law, QAC would then have been required to comply. He did not. This year’s draft SOE did not even require QAC to operate within its existing ANB, just asked for surety as to whether it would. This is despite QAC CEO Glen Sowry having already publicly committed to not doing so over the next decade.

Examples of Cr Lewers’ public voting record include:

June 30, 2022: Cr Lewers was one of four councillors who made no comment throughout the discussion. He then voted to give QAC control of Queenstown Airport’s future direction, by agreeing they could ignore councillors’ thrice expressed instruction requiring Council approval of the 10-year Strategic Plan and Airport Master Plan.

February 3, 2022: Cr Lewers either opposed or abstained on a raft of other councillors’ amendments aimed at strengthening council governance of the airport, compared to the draft SOE his group put forward. Among measures he did not support: (a) That both strategic and master plans be formally agreed by full council before implementation and that the scope of both plans must be clearly outlined in the SOI. (b) Requiring QLDC-led consultation on these plans. (c) Limiting QAC’s SOI scope to Queenstown Airport (after the High Court overturned council’s illegal QAC lease of Wanaka Airport). These are not “tedious arguments around the periphery,” as he describes, but central to QLDC’s mandated governance role.

June 30, 2021 Cr Lewers voted for an SOI that allowed QAC to continue planning expansion of QAC’s noise boundary and to apply for consent any time after June 30, 2024. And to forego the right of community consultation and councillor sign-off of the vitally important Airport Master Plan and 10-year Strategic Plan.

January 28, 2021: Cr Lewers voted against a raft of amendments put forward by Crs Shaw and Gladding, including management and planning for Queenstown Airport within the existing ANBs and of Wānaka Airport to exclude jets, and that any changes to either of these principles must be subject to robust council-led consultation with the community directly affected.

April 23, 2020: Cr Lewers voted to accept an SOI made obsolete by Covid 19’s border closures, described by Cr Shaw as “a dereliction of duty”. This after a summary of over 80 submissions was presented to the meeting, the vast majority of which were opposed to QLDC agreeing to the airport’s SOI.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Deputy Mayor Quentin Smith

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

No, but also I think we are fixated on the ANB too much, the quantum of growth is what is relevant.  I suspect that even 3m+ passenger movements under the current ANB is potentially going to be an issue. 

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

Hands on? We should be engaged in strategic decisions but not operational day to day issues.

Tourism growth – your approach?

The key issue is social licence.  Tourism has to be contributing not extracting from our community.  I don’t think we can increase the ratio of tourists to visitors, it needs to be managed in a sustainable way and the further than imbalance become the worse it is for our community.

Community involvement?

Should be a backbone of everything Qldc does.

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

Yes, we need to make sure we are protected from QAC asset sales without approval. 

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

Yes, Strategic overview is where we should be at and then allow the QAC to get on with approved direction. 

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

Yes

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead – yes or no?

Yes, regardless of where it does proceed it is a significant operational risk to our airport business so naturally we need to understand and manage that risk.

If you are an incumbent councillor, you are welcome to explain your voting record during this term on the above issues.

I stand by my voting record and have been consistent in defending community/council control of the big airport decisions.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Matt Wong

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

No. From what I have been told it is not likely to happen in the next decade with high community support against expansion. I need to talk with Glen (CEO of QAC) and community leaders to fully understand the complexity of this issue. I previously managed a heli operation for 4 years at the airport. Now I cringe at the sound of aircraft but there always needs to be good balance, and that serves the whole community.

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

Hands on but not in the weeds. There is some bad history and trust that needs repaired.

Tourism growth – your approach?

We do not have control over visitor numbers to the district, although political rhetoric will have you believe we can dilute or reduce visitors. We can control how they interact while visiting the district and how much they pay for services. The Destination Management Plan and Tourism Industry Transformation Plan must drive tourism operators to not just think but act regeneratively. I am doing this with my SME tourism business and my customers are paying for our community and environmental projects that benefit people and place. And regenerative tourism has a commercial benefit, but we need legacy leaders to think about the future, about a win win win approach for all stakeholders both internal and external.  If we scale our regenerative efforts, we could have a visitor economy that works for our district, one we can be proud of. Corporate greed and governance solely driving profits to shareholders must change. Change KPI’s to benefit all stakeholders (Commercial, Environment, Community and Culture). By the way, this is not just a tourisms issue, it exists in many district industries – tech, transport, farming, logistics, construction, retail etc. A diverse economy without community at its heart is just introducing more of the same issues. We all must do better to change our mindset to see business, community, environment, people, are part of the one ecosystem.

Community involvement?

I am standing because I want better community involvement to solve the massive freight train of issues coming at us, but there needs to be far better communication and cross community collaboration from council and from community. No councillor should have just one agenda. Doesn’t mean you need to be an expert, far from it, but you need to lean on community and council to guide decision making and solve the complex issues, together.

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

Yes, if the QAC initiated review was not conducted in a robust and transparent manner and conflicts of interest were not managed well, then I would support a council led review. The history of QAC, QLDC, and community has been highly controversial, and it should be expect there will be a higher level of scrutiny to manage until there is a transparent and trusted relationship. 

If it was not done in a robust, transparent way YES, I hate wasting time, resource, and money because work wasn’t executed or communicated well to the stakeholders.

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

YES

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

YES

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

YES – but this shouldn’t be a massive cost! A SWOT of the Tarras Airport is just good governance.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Esther Whitehead

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

no

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

Hands on. There is much at stake. The strategic plan talks of growth and ‘magical’ technology as its strategy for reducing carbon footprint. The land use has potential to enhance or degrade the community, therefore we need a say.

Tourism growth – your approach?

Start to strategically plan for capped numbers through our airport and for Destination Queenstown to review its regenerative tourism strategy to talk about managing degrowth in specific areas, types of tourism.

Community involvement?

I will still advocate for sign off on strategic plan and master plan. I’ll ask for specifics around the key assumptions QAC has made in its most recent draft strategy. Their key assumptions put our community’s asset at risk both environmentally and economically by assuming a stable economy and no disruption to the economy for the next 10 years.

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

YES, I have already asked for this in the next triennium.

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

Yes

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

Yes

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

Yes, it’s made the assumption that it won’t operate in the next 10 years and is therefore not assessing opportunities or risk.

As an incumbent councillor, you are welcome to explain your voting record during this term on the above issues.

I don’t have the time to write my whole history, but rest assured that I have voted in the way I have answered this survey, for the community — and We Love Wakatipu has been witness to that. I have been the key advocate for a Governance manual specific to our CCTO for the reason that the SOE and SOI exacerbate confusion in process and outcomes and create year on year, unresolved issues. The processes of the SOE and SOI do not safeguard long term changes in the way that a governance manual would address. It is designed to help council elected members to operate effectively in their roles and to clarify their responsibilities. It also provides guidance to the chief executives, senior leaders and staff of CCTOs and the council. It offers an accountability framework. The point of this is to have systemic improvement in core competencies for our elected members and staff of the CCO. It enables stronger collaboration between the two parties. We need more accountability measures and better information and training for new councillors, This manual would achieve that. Staff are still in the process of ‘exploring’ the need for this. 

WLW comment: Cr Whitehead has been an articulate and strong supporter of strengthening council’s governance of QAC and stopping ANB expansion, clearly understands council’s legal powers to do so, and has actively promoted this through moving strategic resolutions since becoming a councillor in a by-election 15 months ago.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Gavin Bartlett

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

I would not support an expansion of the Queenstown Airport Noise Boundaries.

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

Hands on. I would like to see QLDC take a more ‘hands on’ role in the strategic planning of Queenstown Airport and land.

Tourism growth – your approach?

I think there are valid concerns around tourism levels returning to pre-covid levels.  I would like to see a coordinated tourism strategy across the southern region, making better use of the existing airports at Dunedin and Invercargill and looking at providing transport links between these centres and the Queenstown Lakes district.

Community involvement?

The community has shown that it has a significant interest in the actions and operations of the airport, and greater community involvement should be catered for.

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

The option for a Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution should at least be offered for discussion/debate.

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

Council should be asked to review, provide input and accept (when satisfied) a 10-year strategic plan for a Council Controlled Trading Organisation.

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

Similar to the above, Council should be asked to review, provide input and accept (when satisfied) an Airport Master Plan for an airport which is a Council Controlled Trading Organisation.

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

The proposed Tarras Airport project is outside of QAC and QLDC influence and control, but it would be prudent for QLDC to investigate both the risks and opportunities to the wider Queenstown Lakes district associated with the project should it go ahead (and indeed if it does not).

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Niki Gladding

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

NO

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

Hands on.

The airport’s strategic plan needs to respond to growth pressures, the climate emergency and AIAL’s proposal for Tarras.  There are plenty of value judgements to be made and I believe those should sit with elected representatives rather than experts in corporate governance.    Personally, I’d like to see: QAC limit growth by not expanding the terminal; debt remain low so we can retain control of the asset in all future scenarios; and a sinking lid on the aircraft emissions ZQN enables.  But these are complex decisions with huge consequences and so they need to be made with community input.

Council’s role in the Strategic Planning process should include:

  1. Amending the constitution to ensure the right drivers are in place; 
  2. Modifying the SOI to uncouple QAC’s strategic planning from current visitor demand projections and to require council sign-off of QAC’s Strategic Plan before it can be implemented;  
  3. Commissioning an independent risk assessment of its investment in QAC under different future scenarios (taking Tarras and climate change into account);  
  4. Facilitating a discussion with the community about the costs, benefits, risks and opportunities of different strategic scenarios for our Airport and Airport land.

Tourism growth – your approach?

We’re facing global uncertainty, so we need to be very careful and very clever about our private and public investments in this district.  Currently,  QLDC is investing in line with projected peak visitor numbers on the assumption that it can’t limit those numbers.  I don’t support that assumption or that approach. 

I believe that in the first instance, QLDC needs to facilitate an informed discussion with the community about:

  1. The costs and benefits of allowing tourism growth in line with projected demand;  
  2. The risks of investing or not investing in tourism infrastructure in line with projected peak demand;  
  3. The rate of tourism growth or degrowth the community would ideally like to see; and  
  4. The levers QLDC has to limit growth and how they could be used to achieve growth in line with the community’s (informed) position.   

Community involvement?

YES

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

YES

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

YES

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

YES

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

YES

As an incumbent councillor, you are welcome to explain your voting record during this term on the above issues.

I’ve always voted in line with the answers provided above.  My position has always been that QAC is a council-controlled company owned by the ratepayers and as such QLDC should be actively protecting its investment and ensuring that QAC’s activities deliver community wellbeing.

WLW comment: Cr Gladding has been one of three councillors who have consistently and staunchly advocated for stopping ZQN’s ANB expansion and improved governance of QAC throughout the past term. (The other two being Cr Shaw, sadly not standing again, and Cr Quentin Smith, standing in Wānaka). A primary initiator of major changes to the February 2022 statement of expectation, which would have substantially improved QLDC governance of the airport if carried through to QAC’s statement of intent. Unfortunately, QAC flagrantly flouted several of council’s explicit instructions and a majority of councillors subsequently decided that was okay. Her diligent activism would be much more effective with colleagues who understood and applied their governance role with QAC, as we are hoping for this term.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Lisa Guy

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

Overwhelming level of public feedback against this, I’d represent our communities wishes to not increase air noise boundary expansion.

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

Council are responsible for strategic oversight and good governance of our district and are the super-majority shareholder of QAC assets – while I’m on a learning curve as to how this applies in reality, I’m assuming a level of strategic sign off would be the least required.

Tourism growth – your approach?

Many conversations to be had about how we may re-engineer and focus tourism to regenerative and sustainable outcomes. This is a nationwide issue. Addressing things locally while important, may only push the problem around the country. There is much we can do to move our provision of visitor experiences, products, and services with respect for Earths environmental ceilings. I’m in support of a nationwide tourism levy. Every day a New Zealander carries the burden of at least one other visitor. Respect for people, place and productivity requires targeted funding to ensure we can invest in infrastructure and continue to strive towards more sustainable outcomes.

Community involvement?

Community involvement is critical to my overall approach to good governance. I will be focused on communicating and engaging with people to ensure we are all well informed on local issues and make any decisions based on clear demonstratable evidence of what our constituents want 

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

Not yet informed enough on this issue to respond.

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

Yes

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

Yes

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

Yes

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Neeta Shetty

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

No.

Air traffic control technology and airport design are being used globally to help reduce aircraft noise for people on the ground. Innovation and technology must be pioneered when considering the effects of our airport.

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

The council must have a ‘hands-on’ approach.

It is imperative for QLDC to have an active and involved role in the airport’s strategic planning. As stated by QAC, “strategic planning of the aviation facility is complicated and requires consultation.” I would think that by QAC’s own admission, QLDC must be a vested interest in the consultation as the key voice of the community and major shareholder.

Tourism growth – your approach?

Tourism brings opportunities to our region. Tourism places our nation and particularly our region on the global map. Tourism is one of the ways that we could attract investments for our economic diversity. Our visitors bring a vibrancy to our region and take back with them stories of our people, history and culture. However, we must manage our tourism efficiently and effectively. We could set the benchmark for both sustainable tourism and growth if we can adjust our priorities to include climate change, our environment and the community at the heart of our policies. Our goal must be to provide our residents and our tourist an exceptional Queenstown-Lakes experience without compromising the integrity of our environment.

Community involvement?

My only vested interest is as a community member, so community involvement in council decision is non-negotiable for me. I am not in favour of closed-door meetings as it is my belief that the best and most pragmatic approaches are community-led. Notwithstanding, the council is using public money for these decisions, so community involvement is pivotal.

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

Yes.

We need to have a review of the QAC constitution. It is also important that we do this in a timely manner.

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

Yes.

Councillors recommendation on the draft SoE provides for a transparent process that keeps all parties accountable.

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

Yes.

With the unscrupulous Wanaka Airport lease, council has a responsibility to ensure  that the Airport Master Plan is signed off; so the public can trust that the council has acted in the best interest of the community.

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

No.

I’m not convinced there is an immediate need for an international airport of such magnitude, albeit outside of our district but within such close proximity. With the uncertainty of the current times, we must make prudent decisions with our resource – environmental, monetary and social. Apart from a colossal environmental issue and with a massive carbon footprint, the airport is also an economic concern to the Queenstown-Lakes – as the Tarras Airport threatens the our district’s niche existence.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Craig Ferguson

Queenstown Airport air noise boundary expansion?

NO

What should be council’s role in the airport’s strategic planning for use of ZQN land in the next 30 to 50 years: Hands On or Hands Off?

Hands off

Tourism growth – your approach?

Manageable, liveable, but will be able to control. Thats a worry for me.

Community involvement?

Absolutely

Council-led legal review of the QAC constitution?

No

Council sign-off required on the 10-year Strategic Plan?

No, I have faith in the board but Council need to be more than a partner. The

Council sign-off required on the Airport Master Plan?

Yes but

Should QLDC investigate what opportunities/risks exist if Tarras International Airport gets the go-ahead?

All I would say is that we need to take Tarras seriously.

As an incumbent councillor, you are welcome to explain your voting record during this term on the above issues.

(No comment provided)

WLW comment: Cr Ferguson’s voting record on stopping ANB expansion and strengthening council’s airport governance has been patchy, tending to follow Mayor Boult’s direction, and his contribution to debate has been minimal. Some examples of his public voting record include:

February 3, 2022: Cr Ferguson voted against an amendment to the draft statement of expectations that QLDC would review the QAC constitution.

June 30, 2021: Cr Ferguson said not one word except for ‘aye’.  Which meant he okayed, without question or comment, a Statement of Intent that allowed QAC to continue planning expansion of QAC’s ANB and to apply for consent any time after June 30, 2024. And to forego the right of community consultation and councillor sign off of the vitally important Airport Master Plan and 10-year Strategic Plan.

October 29, 2020: Cr Ferguson admitted “I have found I have questioned myself whether I have the capacity to continue to soak up the avalanche of emails and documents and various advice, guidance and reading to make another call on another QAC SOI. But that’s our job.” WLW agrees, but we consider this response inadequate for a councillor who has had nine years’ experience with the process.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Lyal Cocks

I don’t support extending the Queenstown Airport noise boundaries.

I support the Council and Wanaka Community Board being involved with QAC strategic planning for Queenstown and Wanaka Airports.

I do not support another airport at Tarras.

I do not believe the Council should be operating airports and therefore we need to work out with QAC Governance and Operational options for the Wanaka Airport that will enable appropriate development for the communities consideration.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce


Barry Bruce

As a new Councillor Elect I would prefer to be fully briefed on Airport operations and strategic plans before any comment.

However I can assure you I can define the roles of Management and Governance, and consider Councillors role is strictly Governance.

Mayor Glyn Lewers / Dep Mayor Quentin Smith / Matt Wong / Esther Whitehead / Gavin Bartlett / Niki Gladding / Lisa Guy / Neeta Shetty / Craig Ferguson / Lyal Cocks / Barry Bruce

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