Wānaka Airport Liaison Committee chair brings strong governance experience

Saturday 13 May 2023, 5:22AM

By Queenstown Lakes District Council



Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has appointed the former Chief Executive of Environment Southland, Rob Phillips as independent chair of the newly formed Wānaka Airport Liaison Committee.

QLDC Chief Executive Mike Theelen confirmed that Councillors agreed unanimously to adopt the governance subcommittee’s recommendation of Mr Phillips as the preferred candidate during a public excluded session of the Full Council meeting on Friday 27 April.

“All details have now been finalised and I welcome Rob to this new position. With more than 22 years’ experience in executive and leadership roles he clearly demonstrated through the recruitment process that he’ll bring the skills, experience and independence required,” said Mr Theelen.

“His strategic approach, open leadership style and focus on achieving outcomes and recognising the importance of a strong organisational culture will enable him to chair the committee and deliver on its key responsibilities.”

A requirement of the District Plan, the committee’s responsibilities include reviewing complaints relating to airport operations or noise, assisting QLDC (in its role as regulator) and Queenstown Airport Corporation (which manages Wānaka Airport’s day-to-day operations on behalf of QLDC under a management services agreement*) to communicate and engage with the community, and reviewing progress on any airport development activity.

Mr Phillips said he was looking forward to working with airport-based businesses and the wider community.

“Wānaka Airport plays a wide range of roles including that of a hugely respected flight training centre and the home of internationally famous air show, Warbirds over Wānaka. The committee will be an important new body taking a helicopter view of relevant activities there,” he said.

“Given this committee has not existed before we’ll be working initially to shape how we operate in line with our terms of reference.”

QLDC has appointed Simon Telfer as its representative from the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board. Other members will be appointed in line with delegations set out in Volume 1 of the Operative District Plan (see page A1-117 in Appendix 1 here). They will include, but not be limited to, representatives from the Wānaka Airport Users Group, Airways and commercial airlines.

The vacant position of Chair was advertised for ten weeks in local and national media, and online, with a closing date for expressions of interest of Friday 24 February. The governance subcommittee shortlisted candidates and conducted interviews on Tuesday 21 March and then resolved to recommend Rob Phillips for the position at its meeting on Wednesday 19 April.

The person specification for this position is available for reference on request.