QLDC CEO Theelen’s UK study trip partly personal

by Peter Newport - Apr 08, 2024

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has revealed that five days of chief executive Mike Theelen’s study trip to the United Kingdom will be taken as personal annual leave.

The trip, scheduled for June this year and costing $12,616, is to study how UK councils have done deals to support the delivery of water services and growth.

Five days of the trip will be treated as private with Mr Theelen covering those related costs.

He is flying to the UK on his own and charging an economy class airfare of $2,794 plus GST. The remaining $7,900 plus GST is the cost of the study tour being organised by Infrastructure NZ.

Last year, at the peak of the cryptosporidium drinking water crisis Mr Theelen was absent due to a four week trip to Europe. He was attending his daughter’s wedding.

Crux asked at the time if the mayor would request Mr Theelen's early return from holiday and received the following reply:

"No. Mike has been kept informed of key developments but there has been no requirement for him to return to Queenstown on this occasion. As is always the case, members of QLDC’s senior management team have been acting chief executive in Mike’s absence.

"This was initially Tony Avery with Stewart Burns taking over from today. They have been/are leading council’s response to both the cryptosporidium outbreak and the recovery from last week’s weather event (noting that the latter was led by Emergency Management who stood up the Emergency Operations Centre overnight Thursday; actions during that time were the remit of the on-duty controllers.)"

Many social media posts on the Crux Facebook page have questioned the cost and necessity of the chief executive's UK study trip.

Advertise with Crux Advertise with Crux