Last Monday the Wānaka Stakeholders Group (WSG) successfully obtained orders from a High Court judge to have their case heard as expeditiously as possible. In practical terms that means that there will be a hearing, most likely in June or July next year. The group also successfully obtained orders allowing for important pre-trial procedures and a hearing time of up to five days to allow cross examination of Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) witnesses.
Bob Hollyman QC, was acting for the WSG.
The group which has gone from a small group of concerned residents to a slick professional lobby machine, said the first important pre-trial step is for them now is to request disclosure of all relevant documents held by both QLDC and QAC. “We will prepare and deliver to each of them by January 29, 2020 a list of the documents and categories of document which we request. Those documents are to be provided by QLDC and QAC by March 13,” said a spokesperson for WSG.
WSG will file its affidavits in support of its case by May 1, 2019. QLDC and QAC must each file their evidence by June 5, 2019.
Michael Ross, chair of WSG said, “We believe that the orders made by the judge are an important step in bringing our case to the High Court.”
Also of concern to WSG are the social and economic impact assessments which are currently underway by consultancy, MartinJenkins. “The [assessments] are all on the premise that the so-called ‘lease’ and certain related side agreements with QAC were validly entered into. Therefore the taking of any such steps should logically await the review by the High Court. At present, QLDC is refusing to wait. We have recorded our position with QLDC, therefore, that the validity of these subsequent steps will also be subject to the court’s determinations in due course.”
QLDC declined to comment.