Councillor’s husband produced arterial road business case

by Peter Newport - May 31, 2023

Councillor Lisa Guy (main image) has refused to comment on a potential conflict of interest resulting from her husband’s company producing both the cost forecast and business case for the controversial arterial road project that is currently running tens of millions of dollars over budget.

Edward Guy is the main owner and managing director of Rationale, the company that produced the 151-page justification for the arterial road, saying it would cost $140 million dollars. Stage one of the project will now cost $108 million with no funding in place for the remaining two stages.

Rationale's Edward Guy - husband of Councillor Lisa Guy

The 2017 Rationale document forecast stage one would cost $33.1 million with an extra $4.3 million to cover land purchase costs for that initial stage. The document, under a section titled Financial Risk, said that if construction costs exceeded the estimated costs then talks with NZTA (now Waka Kotahi) would have to take place and/or the road design would have to be changed. The current state of play is that Waka Kotahi is picking up around $50 million of the cost, with the ratepayer hit with $58 million for stage one.

Two new CBD parking buildings that were included in the Rationale business case have since been dropped by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, undermining the general assumption that car parking will be available.

The business case produced by Rationale for the road project focussed on bringing extra people and traffic to the CBD.

Councillors voted in a public excluded meeting last month to agree an extra $20 million of rate payer funding for stage one of the arterial road, and subsequently apologised to Crux for sending the information to the Mountain Scene first in spite of Crux asking specific questions about the budget over spend on multiple occasions.

Mayor Glyn Lewers has denied that a conflict existed in terms of Councillor Guy voting on the latest $20 million cost blowout.

"The matter for debate was the current need for additional budget for Stage 1 of the Queenstown arterial road, construction of which is well underway. As such, Councillor Guy had, and has, no conflict of interest regarding any historic scoping work undertaken by Rationale."

Councillor Guy sent only a brief response to Crux and did not address our specific questions relating to the arterial project or our follow-up questions on the subject.

“As clearly communicated to you in the lead up to the election I had clarified with the Auditor General that no conflict existed in me standing for election and that I met all considerations of the contracting law. I have declared interests in Rationale. Rationale has not done any work since the local elections for QLDC.”

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