Cocks blasts ‘soft’ Scene

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Queenstown journalists have been urged to investigate prospective mayoral candidate Jim Boult’s part in the failure of Christchurch company Stonewood Homes.

The call came from another prospective mayoral candidate, Lyal Cocks, of Wanaka, the day after Queenstown newspaper Mountain Scene announced “top businessman” Boult was joining the mayoral race.

Cocks took issue with the paper for a lack of coverage of Mr Boult’s part in the Stonewood collapse.

Boult was a director of the company until he resigned three weeks before it went into receivership in February.

Cocks says he’s “really surprised” Mountain Scene had not covered stories about Boult’s “so-called clever business involvement” in the company.

“As a reporter, wouldn’t you be asking a question if one of the directors of a company that goes under owing $20 million in Christchurch stands down a week before it goes under?

“Wouldn’t you be asking questions about that?”

Cocks says part of the job of the Stonewood liquidators was to investigate the role of the directors in the previous two years.

“A company … goes from a viable company to one that goes under, owing $20m – now if that’s a clever business or governance ability of the candidate, as a reporter I would be asking questions.

“I’ve got nothing personally against Jim.

“But if he stands up, and Mountain Scene want to push him as a top businessman, maybe they should investigate his business successes or not.

Mountain Scene, usually they are all over things like that, but for some reason they’re not on this one.”

Asked if he’sunder investigation over the collapse of Stonewood, Boult responds: “My focus is on community issues, not mud-racking or personal attacks of any sort.

“Our inbox is full of supportive emails from residents and ratepayers _ that’s what is important as these people are clearly relating to the issues that I am focused on, community, housing and planning.

“That’s what is important.”

Mountain Scene editor David Williams says the paper wrote about Boult’s link to Stonewood Homes in February and the issue was covered in his ‘Parting Shot’ column in yesterday’s paper.

“I’m happy to take criticism.

“I think Lyal Cocks should be more worried about Jim Boult than Mountain Scene.”

Cocks says he’s happy to be investigated himself and has no conflicts of interest, such as being a director of Queenstown-based Real Journeys, as Boult is.

He was also “not part of any old boys’ network”.

Cocks, who lives in Wanaka, says already spends much of his week in Queenstown, but if elected would buy or rent an apartment there to enable him to spend more time there.