Qtown Airport chairman tells Porter to step aside over ‘conflict of interest’

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The battle over the part-sale of Queenstown Airport is getting personal with calls for an opponent of the deal to step aside over a “clear” conflict of interest. 

Queenstown Airport Corporation wants Chamber of Commerce chairman Alastair Porter to remove himself from the airport debate because some of his companies are separately involved in “several ongoing disputes” with QAC. 

The Chamber is fighting any further sale of the local airport after the shock announcement that Auckland International Airport Ltd bought a 24.99 per cent share for $27.7 million – and it wants an investigation into the secret deal. 

Porter is also a member of the Queenstown Community Strategic Assets Group, recently formed by high-profile businessmen to stop the deal going any further. 

In a statement released this afternoon, QAC chairman Mark Taylor says Porter’s involvement is “threatening the credibility” of the Chamber. 

Taylor also wants the Chamber to withdraw a report that includes nine issues relating to the sale. 

“Mr Porter has a clear conflict of interest, and as a result Chamber members are considering a one-sided, biased and incorrect brief that supports his business interests rather than the interests of the wider Chamber membership,” he says. 

QAC’s presently involved in “protracted negotiations” with Porter’s companies Remarkables Park Group Ltd (RPL) and Shotover Park Ltd, which own land next to the airport. 

RPL opposes a current QLDC plan change over noise boundaries, plus has also fought the Shotover Delta Project, the runway extension safety area and flight fan amendments, Taylor says. 

Porter couldn’t be contacted for comment.