Auditor-General launches Feeley probe


The Auditor-General will investigate a bid by Queenstown council boss Adam Feeley’s family trust to use fast-track powers to develop land at Arrowtown.

The inquiry was confirmed by the Auditor-General’s office this morning.

Spokesman Mike Heine said: “In May, we received several requests from people in the Queenstown Lakes district to inquire into the chief executive’s interest in land owned by his family being considered for a special housing area, including any involvement he had in developing the housing accord and the council’s policy before he declared an interest.

“The requests raise issues of trust and confidence in council processes, and issues about how council officers can participate in those processes as members of the community.”

The probe will include:

  • The nature and extent of any involvement by the chief executive in developing the Council’s housing accord and related policy for special housing areas;
  • And how the Council and chief executive: have managed the chief executive’s interest in land owned by his family being considered for a special housing area; and should manage matters if the land owned by the chief executive’s family is approved as a special housing area.

Feeley’s Rafa Trust is one of 13 applications for special housing area status – which will be considered at a full council meeting this coming Wednesday.

The Rafa Trust’s proposal is for 20 properties, of between 250 square metres and 500sq m, on McDonnell Road – opposite the Millbrook corner on the town’s south side.

On Wednesday, council staff revealed their recommendations for the 13 special housing area applications, endorsing just four.

But on all Arrowtown proposals, including Rafa Trust’s, leaving it to councillors to weigh them up.

The biggest public backlash has been aimed at subdivisions in and around Arrowtown, which has spent yearsestablishing a growth boundary.

Council rates records state the Rafa Trust’s land spans 6.175 hectares and is worth a combined $1.7 million.

Previously, Feeley said he sought advice from the Auditor-General on how to manage the conflict – and it had stated it was comfortable with his approach.

Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden said in February that Feeley flagged his “potential conflict” with the whole council, adding: “I am completely satisfied that none exists.”