Should our elected councillors be involved in QLDC commercial decisions?

Jun 16, 2023

A crux reader survey that closes next Thursday (June 22) shows 86 percent of respondents are in favour of the billion-dollar Lakeview project being controlled in future by elected councillors.

The project is currently under the sole council authority of Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Mike Theelen with ratepayer losses now approaching $100 million and no transparency over potential future income. 

The Lakeview control survey results so far - the survey closes on June 22.

Makes sure to register your view here. In the meantime here's a selection of survey comments so far:

Some of the 14 percent in support of the council chief executive keeping sole Lakeview authority

"Commercial decisions should not be made by elected members who do not understand the commercial reality of delivering this project, and have differing agendas on development. It becomes inefficient if the full council is required to participate in these decisions. The decision to develop the site has already been made by council, it now needs to be executed, not re-litigated continually. The project is no longer political, its operational and it should be treated accordingly."

"Elected members are representatives, they are not elected on their commercial nous. The council made a decision at a governance level and the management sits at a staff level. The lines between Governance and Management should be very defined. We have seen numerous examples over the years where elected members get involved in matters that they don’t have the expertise in and make a meal of things."

"Councillors have demonstrated repeatedly that politics plays a large part in their choices and behaviors which frustrates processes and plays to the squeeky wheels of the community, again, leading to poor outcomes. The responsibilities and directives of the CEO are able to be managed by Councillors through employment processes. Assuming the Council employ adequately qualified people, they should be confident that the Council can perform their roles, following objective and legal processes, that are not unduly hampered."

Some of the 86 percent in support of Lakeview control moving from the chief executive to councillors

"The community had essentially no input on the use of the Lakeview site, and none of the assurances given by the council regarding minimising financial risk and maintaining control of the development have been realised. It's the job of our councillors to ensure the council acts in the interests of the community, and for the CEO to continue to have sole charge over the project is clearly not reasonable."

"The CEO has done very little to restore the lack of faith the ratepayers have in him. He has not shown commercial aptitude in this deal and needs to be monitored very closely."

"I don’t trust the CEO, I think the Councillors have been useless representatives for many years and don’t like the way we (the ratepayers) have been ignored throughout this whole mess. QLDC is continually overspending and I have no confidence in them any more."

"Decisions made so far are so inept and detrimental to the ratepayers. Bongo the chimp could do a better job."

"QLDC CEO’s job is to manage the Council, not to speculate with ratepayers money."

Here's the survey link - let us know your view, and feel free to add your own comments. 


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