Auckland Airport overrides Boult - "No Q'town legal challenge"

Feb 26, 2020

Yesterday Mayor Jim Boult warned elected councillors not to seek too much control over the Queenstown Airport Corporation so as not to trigger a legal challenge from 25% minority airport shareholder Auckland International Airport. Now that airport company has very pointedly said that there will be no legal action - making the Mayor's warning look inappropriate and puzzling. See also a statement below from the QLDC marketing team and Mayor Jim Boult, issued within minutes of the Auckland Airport statement.

Auckland Airport spokesperson and Queenstown Airport Director Mark Thomson.

“Auckland Airport respects and values our partnership with Queenstown Lakes District Council and we have never contemplated taking any legal action against them.

“We are very mindful that people have voiced concerns about regional growth and the role of air services, and we fully support the council’s decision to lead this process, including engaging extensively with the community and all other stakeholders. 

“Auckland Airport is minority shareholder in Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) with one seat on the board. We are proud of our association with Queenstown and we will continue to support QAC and the contribution it makes to the district and the community.”

From: Mark Thomson - Auckland airport spokesperson and QAC Board member.

This statement has just been received from Mayor Jim Boult/QLDC.

The "headline" supplied by QLDC's marketing team is "Mayor Boult dismisses misleading Auckland International Airport accusations"

"At the (yesterday's council) meeting, Mayor Jim Boult recognised that decisions made regarding the future of airport development in the district also needed to consider the Corporation’s minor (sic) shareholder, Auckland International Airport Ltd.

“I felt it important to remind my fellow elected members that, even as the majority shareholder, we are not alone in this decision-making process. And that locking the QAC into such a definitive position without agreeing it with the other shareholder could be open to legal challenge from them.

Mayor Jim Boult at yesterday's Extraordinary council meeting.

"I personally feel it is right and proper to highlight such risks when making these decisions,” said Mayor Boult.

“That some have chosen to interpret my advice to surmise that Auckland International Airport is calling the shots is simply misleading nonsense. To be clear, AIAL has never discussed or highlighted any intention to take legal action. In fact, it is fully supportive of the Council’s current approach to pause all development at Wānaka and Queenstown whilst more information is gathered.”

“Actually we have a positive and productive relationship with our minority shareholder, which has positively responded to the current airport impact assessments and plans to constructively engage with Council on any subsequent QAC-led masterplanning processes and consultations to shape the future of our district’s airports,” added Mayor Boult.

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