ZQN7 team back together on $50 million Taranaki stadium

by Peter Newport - Feb 18, 2022

Main image above. Yarrow Stadium team meets with Labour MP.  Jendi Paterson (left) and Ruth Stokes (right) with Taranaki MP Angela Roberts (centre left) and Solleil Tan of project managers RCP (centre right).

The two women involved in the ZQN7 $600,000 ZQN7 consultancy work for QLDC have regrouped in New Plymouth working with the Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) and championing the hashtag “Women in Construction.” 

Mrs Stokes, currently the full time CEO of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce, is part of the TRC’s steering group in charge of building the controversial $50 million Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth, while Ms Paterson appears to be the regional council manager selecting suppliers for the stadium project.

The $50 million New Plymouth stadium project does not extend to new seats.

A tender document inviting companies to bid for supplying the pitch for the new stadium seeks bids to be sent to [email protected]

Crux has asked the TRC how the appointment of Ms Paterson and Mrs Stokes was conducted.

The council supplied the following statement in reply:

“Following Taranaki Regional Council’s standard procurement process, Ms Stokes was appointed as a member of the Yarrow Stadium Project Steering Group and Ms Paterson was appointed to the role of Project Lead for the Yarrow Stadium refurbishment project.

“The Council declines to provide details regarding the nature or quantum of payments made to any individuals contracted by the Council for commercial and privacy reasons.”

Chamber of Commerce CEO Ruth Stokes. The Taranaki Regional Council won't comment on how much she is being paid to help run the Yarrow Stadium project in New Plymouth.

Mrs Stokes and Ms Paterson worked for both the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Dunedin City Council at the same times, before working as consultants for QLDC via ZQN7.

At the same time as the $600,000 ZQN7 work was underway for QLDC, Ms Paterson was also the Parks Manager for the Hamilton City Council on $25,000 a month, while Mrs Stokes carried out a separate council review of Hamilton Parks department, with Ms Paterson, for $150,000. Mrs Stokes was also working for Kiwibuild and RDC consulting in Wellington, as well as the Auckland City Council, during the QLDC consulting period.

At the same time as the New Plymouth stadium project was underway, Mrs Stokes was also part of the Government Housing Agency, Kainga Ora.

A spokesperson for Kainga Ora sent this reply to Crux questions earlier today about Ruth Stokes' role with the agency’s Construction Programme Advisory Panel.

“The panel does not have a decision-making role. Its members are appointed by the Chief Executive (CE) and its Terms of Reference agreed between the CE and the Panel Chair.

“Mrs Stokes was engaged as a contractor by the Investment Management Office (IMO) of Kāinga Ora to support with the set up and establishment of the Construction Programme Advisory Panel. She completed this work in early 2021.”

Mrs Stokes told the Otago Daily Times in January 2021 that she had the agreement of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce Board to work for both the Taranaki Regional Council and Kainga Ora.

Ms Paterson is also now working in a Project Management role for the Invercargill City Council according to her internet profile.

This week, Mrs Stokes was at the centre of national controversy by declaring, as Chamber of Commerce CEO, that Queenstown would be “closed by Friday” due to government’s claimed lack of support for local business owners.

Crux has been banned from becoming a member of the Chamber of Commerce after asking questions about the source of funding for Ruth Stokes salary.

ZQN7 property on the market in Queenstown for $24 million.

In the meantime, Mrs Stokes and her husband, the owners of ZQN7 Ltd, are marketing two out of four unbuilt apartments in Turner Street, central Queenstown, for around $6 million each.

Part of the promotional video for the sale of two unbuilt apartments, at $6 million each, on land owned by ZQN7 at 3 Turner Street Queenstown.

The ZQN7 site appears to have been more or less abandoned for the past 2 years and was originally designed to be a boutique hotel. A change in resource consent just before Xmas allowed ZQN7 to market the apartments for sale – even though they have not yet been constructed.

None of the four planned apartments has yet been built. Work at 3 Turner Street, owned by ZQN7, has been at a standstill for the past 2 - 3 years.

Some very slick marketing by Ray White Queenstown paints a very urban chic image of the apartments (135 square metres and 191 square metres) with real estate agent Cameron Reed telling Crux today that he’s confident of a future sale after a lot of initial interest, especially from Australian buyers.

Crux approached the Chair of the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce for comment on Mrs Stokes' terms of employment, and whether the "Closed by Friday" comments were approved by the Chamber's Board. However, we received no reply. 





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