by Geoffrey Churchman

Effectively the council now thinks this not insignificant sum is highly likely to be a write-off — it is in the KCDC’s official Annual Report for 2021–2022 to be issued very shortly.

We first learned about this loan 2 years ago during one of our coffee catch-ups with Karl Webber. Our immediate reaction was ‘what’?? Two years previous, the highly controversial decision to subsidise Air Chathams to the tune of $50,000 a year was publicly announced in 2018 at the time that Air Chathams began its regular flights to replace Air NZ which had decided to pull out in 2017 (and who the outgoing present mayor told to Stuff off.)

So, two years ago we learned that in a Maxwell/Power-ordered secret session the councilors agreed to loan them in addition to the subsidy a hefty $500,000. We sent Mr Power an official information request for copies of all correspondence between the council and Air Chathams. He ignored that request, so a complaint about it went as usual to the Ombudsman. That is one of the complaints to the Ombudsman about Mr Power still outstanding.

But why did councilors agree to this? Not all of them are half-wits — were they presented with dishonest information? Determining that needs Auditor General involvement, and that is where we are sending the matter.

I’m working on a broader article on the whole issue of the Airport and hope to complete that by the end of the weekend.