MAY

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• Queenstown’s first dedicated police prosecutor, Ian Collin, is pinged driving a cop car at 149kmh in a 100kmh zone. He’s suspended from driving for 28 days, fined about $600 and faces an internal code of conduct inquiry.

• NZSki marketing manager David Ovendale suddenly leaves after seven years for unstated “personal reasons”. Says his boss James Coddington: “I’m saddened I’m no longer working with David.” Ovendale shifts to Sydney to become chief executive of travel operator Value Tours.

• Destructive parasites called varroa mites have been found in two Frankton hives – the first time they’ve been found south of Timaru. Experts say the pests will kill all wild bees in the area, playing havoc with cropping farmers and fruit growers who are dependent on them for pollination. Beekeeper Peter Ward calls it “a huge tragedy” which will cost commercial operators thousands of dollars to treat and put most hobbyist beekeepers out of business.

• Environment Court judge Fred McElrea dismisses an appeal by the owners of downtown Queenstown’s Guilty bar to exceed noise limits on its Ballarat Street deck three nights a week from 10pm. McElrea is concerned other bars would seek the same rights. Downtown landlords, former mayor Warren Cooper and Peter Fleming and ex-CBD hotelier Victoria Shaw proceeded with the case despite Guilty’s lawyer firing a “threatening” letter – the judge’s description – to the latter two.

• Outspoken councillor Vanessa van Uden becomes the first Queenstown Lakes mayoral candidate. She says council staff numbers, at 120, are bloated. Van Uden, 43, also promises to review the efficiency of council controlled organisations like Lakes Environmental, simplify the district plan and make the resource consent process cheaper and simpler. Incumbent mayor Clive Geddes later announces he’s standing down.

• Wealthy Arrowtowner Michael Hill puts ambitious plans for 17 luxury underground homes on his 200ha backyard golf course on hold. He reckons anyone planning a major development in the Wakatipu “needs rocks in their head”.

• Tourism Industry Association announces Queenstown will host the annual Tourism Rendezvous NZ (Trenz) conference next May. The Events Centre is later confirmed as the venue.