‘Back off Basil’ – Queenstown mayor

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Queenstown Lakes District Council has called in big city lawyers to deal with bankrupt developer Basil Walker.

On Monday, Mayor Vanessa van Uden wrote to Walker – a strident writer and submitter over the use of ratepayer funds – warning him he faces legal action if he repeats “defamatory comments”.

Auckland Crown solicitors Meredith Connell had been given instructions, she says.

The letter, copied to the media just as Walker’s correspondence has been, says on numerous occasions Walker’s correspondence had become “increasingly abusive to council staff and contained defamatory comments”.

“To date, we have not stifled robust debate and demonstrated a high level of tolerance.

“However, the degree of inaccuracy and the frequency of your defamatory comments have reached a point where the council will show no further tolerance,” the letter says.

On Monday night, Walker says: “It’s just rubbish and it is trying to avoid prudent use of ratepayers’ funds.”

His emailed response to Van Uden says if he had defamed a councillor she should name the member and the supposed defamation.