Boult signals Auckland Airport challenge to Q'town decisions
Mayor Jim Boult issued a stark warning to councillors today that moves to limit Queenstown airport growth could be challenged by Auckland airport as a minority shareholder. Mayor Boult added that the council would be "walking a dangerous path" in providing too much direction to the Queenstown Airport Corporation.
Boult was speaking as councillors voted to submit their formal expectations to the Airport Corporation and give the airport board an extra month to prepare their all-important Statement of Intent.
Members of various anti-airport lobby groups took full advantage of today's extraordinary council meeting to make their views heard during the public forum section of the meeting.
David Mayhew, speaking on behalf of the Kelvin Peninsula Community Association, said that the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) did not understand the concept of a community social licence. "So far QAC has demonstrated no ability or appetite to respect the social licence when it conflicts with the demands of the air travel industry. It is not QAC's licence to play with."
He went on to tell councillors "The fundamental problem is that QAC does not see itself as a community owned utility whose function is to serve that community. Rather it sees itself as a business whose customers are airlines demanding landing slots and who care nothing of the impact on the host community."
Speaking prior to the vote on the council's Statement of Expectations, Councillor Penny Clark said that there should be no reference in the document to the airport's social licence. "There is no social licence - we've slipped. We need to create a new licence" she told the council meeting. Councillor Clark also called on the airport corporation to reduce the number of rental car companies operating out of Queenstown Airport.