Councillors in conflict


Conflicts of interest are dogging Queenstown councillors.

At last month’s meeting, three councillors were unable to debate some agenda items – because their personal affairs were potentially in conflict with topics on the table.

Councillor Cath Gilmour declared a conflict over council plans to expand the resort’s town centre to existing residential areas - she left The chamber while the matter was discussed.

Gilmour tells Mountain Scene she owns property near the CBD - “It’s a rental flat, basically our superannuation scheme.”

She stresses she disclosed her property interest right at the beginning of the protracted plan change process.

Rookie councillor Scott Stevens also got caught up in a conflict of interest at his second council meeting last month. 

Stevens had to ask if he should withdraw from a “local alcohol policy” debate - because he owns more than 10 per cent of a teppanyaki and sake bar.

Council boss Adam Feeley advised this could be “a material conflict”.

Minutes record Stevens saying he wanted to debate the topic “because he considered he could make a valuable

“I’ve been in the hospitality industry for 20 years.”

Stevens also volunteers he owns a stake - under 10 per cent - in big Queenstown hospitality company Good Group, which has three local bars and Botswana Butchery restaurant.

Cr Calum MacLeod’s private interests also tangled him up over the local alcohol policy - he owns Wanaka’s Cinema Paradiso.