Mystery leaflet writer revealed


Who wrote Arrowtown’s mystery leaflet? We can tell you.

The anonymous leaflet, which has been appearing in the town’s letterboxes for the past week, encourages residents to vote against the infill policy in the Queenstown council’s proposed district plan. 

The plan aims to unlock housing supply through more intensive development in existing residential zones by reducing section sizes and increasing allowable building heights and coverage.

But the leaflet says the plan change will damage the town’s “character and charm that we have been fighting so hard to protect”.

Inquiries by the Otago Daily Times have found the leaflet’s writer to be Tania Flight, daughter of Arrowtown farmer Roger Monk – and spokeswoman for the stalled Arrowtown South and Brackens Ridge residential housing developments.

She’s overseas but husband Nick Flight confirms his wife produced the leaflet – out of concern.

He says the policy’s likely to slip through “and people are going to look back for ever more and say ‘we don’t like having 400 extra houses and everything all squashed in together’.” 

Roger Monk says he had no involvement with the leaflet but agrees with his daughter’s sentiments.

The perverse outcome of council and community reluctance to extend the township’s boundary was that property values are continuing to rise, he says.

”The longer they leave it the worse it gets.”

After spending more than five years promoting the Arrowtown South subdivision on 17ha of his land on the township’s southern boundary, he has given up, he says.

Although the Environment Court approved a scaled-back version in March, it was uneconomic and a “complete and utter waste” of the land involved.

He was also the promoter, with Don Mahon, of the 62-lot Brackens Ridge special housing area proposal on Centennial Ave. The proposal was rejected by the council in June.

Monk says the problem of housing the district’s growing population was “staring everybody in the face”, and Arrowtown South and Brackens Ridge were “dead projects” unless the council changed its thinking.

Arrowtown ward councillor Scott Stevens says he’s happy with residents anonymously distributing information about the proposed district plan – so long as it’s not misinformation.

He was disappointed by the low turnout at two council drop-in sessions in Arrowtown about the plan, so he says encouraging people to make submissions was a good thing.

But Arrowtown resident Greg Fawcett says he disapproves of the anonymity of the leaflet.

The leaflet suggests residents choose either higher-density urban infill or the extension of the township’s boundary.

“This is a great example of what is called a false dichotomy – a proponent of an unpopular option stands it against an even more unpleasant option, hoping people will side with them, when in fact, you can choose neither.”

Submissions on the proposed district plan close this Friday.

Otago Daily Times