JULY

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• Prime Minister John Key adds his weight to Arrowtown mega-jeweller Michael Hill’s campaign to retain golf’s New Zealand Open at his private course. “I’ve said to NZ Golf it’s a great way to showcase NZ, with a huge viewing audience,” Key tells Mountain Scene while in town to open Winter Festival.

• Ten business heavyweights hurriedly form the Queenstown Community Strategic Assets Group to oppose Auckland International Airport’s out-of-the-blue purchase of 24.99 per cent of the resort’s airport. Ex-mayor and former airport chairman John Davies says: “If we could stop the deal we’d bloody stop it alright.” The $27.7 million deal has an option for AIA to raise its stake to 35 per cent by June next year – giving it the ability to block major transaction resolutions around the board table.

• Queenstown Airport lifts trespass notices on two joy-riding pranksters who drove their car along the runway late at night. Initially, Milford pilots Andrew Pye and Stefan Burrell were banned from the airport for two years following the April 9 incident, leading both to resign their jobs.

• Former Kawarau Jet driver Ian Morgan, involved in the death of Chinese tourist Yan Wang, 42, after a boat flipped on the Shotover River two years ago, is found not guilty of operating a vessel in a manner which causes unnecessary danger or risk. Maritime New Zealand brought the charge. Morgan, 37, is acquitted by an 11-1 majority after a Dunedin District Court jury trial. The verdict is a “huge relief”, now Sydney-based Morgan says.

• Maritime NZ lays 10 charges against Kawarau Jet and two of its drivers for allegedly operating unsafely by running boats in winds of up to 60 knots last December. One boat, with 16 passengers, limped into Queenstown Bay after losing an engine that sucked in water. The company later pleads guilty to three charges while those against the drivers are withdrawn.

• Aucklander Tony Gapes, who bought stage one of Queenstown’s failed Five Mile site last November, snaps up stage two on the eastern side of Grant Road in an 11th hour deal. He exercises his 10-day option to match local developer David Mahoney’s $27m offer. Mahoney is “very disappointed”.

• Queenstown Medical Centre files legal proceedings against new rival Midtown Medical, aiming to temporarily restrain its ex-QMC doctor, Bruce McKinnon, from seeing patients. QMC alleges McKinnon breached a restraint of trade clause. The two parties settle before the case goes to court. Midtown can’t advertise McKinnon’s name or poach any more QMC staff till August 19.