Mayor reins in Queenstown Airport Corp

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Queenstown’s mayor has ensured Queenstown Airport Corporation won’t be able to issue further shares without the council’s okay. 

At Tuesday’s council meeting, mayor Vanessa van Uden rammed through two key changes in a “statement of intent” tabled by QAC. 

A statement of intent, along with the company’s constitution, provides an agreed operating framework for council subsidiaries. 

A loosely-worded constitution and statement of intent enabled QAC’s board to secretly sell 24.99 per cent to Auckland Airport last July. 

QAC’s new draft simply said its board must “consider the need for and sources of capital subscriptions as may be required”. 

Van Uden added: “No new shares in the company will be issued without the consent of shareholders.” 

QAC’s version would also have required its board to merely “advise the shareholders’ representative of any investment to be made in another entity”. 

Eagle-eyed Van Uden has altered “advise” to “consult” – and added “prior to any investment being made”. 

The mayor may have to repeat the exercise next month when the airport company’s new constitution comes to council. 

Van Uden hasn’t seen a draft of the constitution but tells Mountain Scene “some very clear instructions have been given – particularly over issuing shares”. 

“I’ll be ensuring we have a robust document that protects us in the future and sets very clear expectations.” 

Auckland Airport will be consulted on constitutional changes, Van Uden says, but she’ll use her 75 per cent majority vote if required to safeguard her council’s rights.