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Judicial Review Of Wānaka Airport Decision Begins In Queenstown

A group representing nearly 3,500 Upper Clutha residents opposed to the development of a second jet airport in the Queenstown Lakes region has opened with its submissions in the High Court judicial review in Queenstown today. Wānaka Stakeholders Group Inc. is asking a High Court judge to review the decisions made by QLDC in relation to their local airport, leading to the awarding of a 100 year "lease" of the airport, which they say is unlawful.

In his opening submissions to the court, Julian Miles QC described this as the "biggest issue this community has faced in a very long time" and that QLDC's and QAC's plans "impact on every element that makes Wānaka what it is [...] and are of enormous importance."

WSG Chair, Michael Ross, says that the group is relieved that the issue is now before the High Court. "Our legal team has spent hundreds of hours during the last 12 months preparing for this case, supported by the wider WSG team in Wānaka. After years of frustrations, blocked information and lack of transparency from QLDC and QAC, we're very pleased to have the opportunity to put our concerns about their handling of Wānaka Airport before a High Court Judge. Even more so in light of our recent discovery of Council's $2.7m spend on Project Pure as a direct result of the airport lease."

The hearing is set to take a week, with a decision from the Judge likely to be delivered later in the year.

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