Cracks over company jobs

On the stump: The mayoral candidates at last week's debate

Company board roles have flared as a Queenstown Lakes mayoral issue.

Businessman Jim Boult tells Mountain Scene if he’s elected he plans to stay a director of tourism giant Real Journeys and construction firm Hawkins Construction, which has a Queenstown office and is building the new high school.

“I have very good experience in managing conflicts in a whole lot of the roles I’ve had in the past and I intend to continue those involvements.

“I will review all my other roles and make a decision on those once I have been elected – but obviously there is absolutely no point in my doing so until I’m elected.”

Another mayoral candidate, film director Roger Tompkins, has a similar stance to Boult – but a different take.

He’s the sole director of companies Cranbrook Films and tourism company Our Man In New Zealand.

“I think it’s entirely manageable,” Tompkins says.

“My aim is to throw myself 100 per cent into the mayoralty and anything else I do will be done outside my commitment to the mayoralty.

“My mayoralty’s going to be my fulltime job.”

But current deputy mayor Lyal Cocks, who occasionally stood in for incumbent Vanessa van Uden, suggests company directorships might open up a can of worms.

And he has a crack at Boult over his former involvement with failed company Stonewood Homes New Zealand Ltd.

“I wouldn’t like to compromise my mayoral responsibilities to community by having to step aside from significant issues because of a conflict that comes from being a director on some company, whether it be Real Journeys, Hawkins, or whatever.”

Cocks sits on the Alpine Community Development Trust, the Chamber of Commerce, Lake Wanaka Tourism, the Dunedin RSA Welfare Trust and is a board member of Wharf Develop-ments Ltd, which runs Wanaka i-Site.

He’ll resign them all, he says.

“I don’t believe there’s time to be a director of a company and be the mayor.

“We’ve got a classic example right now with Jim being investigated for his past directorship on Stonewood Homes.”

He says that investigation might be “good or may be bad” for the community.

“That’s another really good example of why we shouldn’t have mayors being directors of companies.”

Boult retorts if Cocks’ view was adopted no-one would be director of any NZ company.

“Lyal and others confuse badly the difference in the roles of governance and management – being a councillor and being a mayor is not about fulfilling executive function.”

He didn’t want to add to previous statements on Stonewood Homes. He previously told the ODT he welcomed a liquidator’s enquiry into the failed company.

Boult says he’s already taken advice about keeping his directorships and, if elected, will discuss it with the Auditor General.

Auditor General Lyn Provost is already familiar with Boult.

She investigated his involvement, as property developer, in a loss-making deal at Luggate with Delta Utility Services, owned by Dunedin’s council.

Her report said: “In public office, having multiple roles and interests requires careful management. People with such interests need to behave with the utmost integrity and transparency to avoid real or perceived conflicts and risks to the public entities they serve.”

Businessman John Mann says he’ll resign all directorships, but is taking advice about whether to remain on the District Licensing Committee.

Kinloch’s Al Angus says he has no positions which will cause conflict.