Blank on bankrolling

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Failed Queenstown Lakes mayoral candidates Lyal Cocks and Roger Tompkins refuse to say if a Queenstown property developer contributed to their campaigns.

Mountain Scene has been told Queenstown developer Chris Meehan contributed to the campaigns of former deputy mayor Cocks and his film director rival Tompkins.

Despite repeated questions, none of the trio – Meehan, Tompkins or Cocks – will confirm if this is true.

October’s five-horse mayoral race was won by Queenstown businessman Jim Boult, who won at a canter – taking 53 per cent of the vote.

Queenstown’s Tompkins, who’s yet to file his funding return, confirms he spoke to Meehan – and “a lot of people” – about campaign contributions.

“Only one individual made a donation over $1500, which I have to declare, everything else is less than that.

Third place-getter: Roger Tompkins
Third place-getter: Roger Tompkins

He adds: “People that contributed under the $1500 cut-off have asked to remain anonymous and I’ve agreed to do that.”

Cocks refuses to be interviewed, and hasn’t answered a list of questions emailed by Mountain Scene.

Asked if Meehan, his family or related entities contributed to his mayoral campaign, the Wanaka-ite says in an emailed statement: “My return of electoral donations and expenses will be available when submitted after the election as per the Local Electoral Act.”

The three other mayoral contenders – Boult, Al Angus and John Mann – confirm Meehan didn’t contribute financially to their race.

Meehan couldn’t be reached for comment, despite several attempts over a number of weeks.

Campaign returns have to be lodged with Queenstown’s council on December 11. They’ll be made public the next day.

The campaign funding claims throw a new spin on a bizarre mayoral race.

In June, Cocks berated the Scene for being soft on Boult for not mentioning the Stonewood Homes collapse.

Boult resigned as a Stonewood Homes New Zealand Ltd director in February, weeks before it and several related companies went under.

Stonewood’s liquidator Rhys Cain is investigating – though he won’t reveal his funder.

Prior to the election, Boult laid a formal complaint with police over an “alleged campaign” against him.

It’s understood several interviews have already been conducted.

Meehan and his wife Michaela are the developers of the massive 1600-section Northlake subdivision in Wanaka.

The couple are also associated with Queenstown developments Lake’s Edge, Bridesdale Farm and three failed special housing area proposals for Ayrburn Farm, near Arrowtown.

The Friends of Lake Hayes Society has been vocal in its opposition to development at Ayrburn, saying in July plans to discharge stormwater into Mill Creek would add “considerable” pollutants to Lake Hayes and contribute further to its “already critical
condition”.

david@scene.co.nz