Council appoints part-time planning boss


Former Dunedin infrastructure boss Tony Avery will oversee Queenstown’s beleaguered planning department on a part-time basis.

Avery honourably quit his Dunedin City Council position in 2014 in the wake of the Citifleet scandal despite having no knowledge of the $1.5 million fraud.

Since February, he’s been running his own consultancy firm.

Queenstown council planning general manager Marc Bretherton quit last week for a job with major local developer Winton Partners.

Avery has been appointed to manage the team for six months until a new general manager is recruited.

Queenstown council boss Adam Feeley says Avery is consulting to several other councils including Otago Regional Council and Clutha District.

“Because of his existing commitments, Tony will be with QLDC three days a week from the end of this month,” he says.

The planning and development team is already under the pump with the resort’s housing and commercial property boom.

A number of staff have resigned, including the mayor’s husband Peter Laurenson, who was building services boss.

Avery spent 15 years working for DCC in various roles.

But he resigned when it emerged Citifleet team leader Brent Bachop had sold 152 cars totalling more than $1.5m, with the proceeds missing.

Bachop, who died suddenly in May 2014 after the allegations came to light, reported indirectly to Avery, who was also head of the council’s regulatory services group.

Avery quit saying he accepted “the management buck stops with me”.

That was despite not being aware of, or involved in, the fraud, or receiving information that alerted him to it, he said.

He’s hugely experienced in planning and infrastructure, having worked for Otago Regional Council for a decade as director of resource management before joining DCC.