Community engagement about Central Otago Airport

Nikki McKay made this Official Information request to Christchurch International Airport Limited

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Christchurch International Airport Limited should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Nikki McKay

Dear Christchurch International Airport Limited,

On Monday 5th September 2022 it was reported in Tourism Ticker as follows:

“On its Tarras airport project, CIAL said it had appointed a Tarras-based community engagement expert, Rebecca McElrea, and had conducted “a full programme of engagement, including face-to-face meetings, group presentations, school visits and responding to all requests for information from the project”.
As you know, there has been significant public interest in the project, and communities in Central Otago and Christchurch have been seeking answers.

The following applies to Central Otago and Christchurch, specifically in relation to Central Otago Airport, up to and including Monday 5th September 2022.

Could I please have a list of all groups which have been met with, the date of the meeting, and the number of people in attendance?

Please supply a copy of the engagement plan (or any guiding documents outlining the engagement strategy).

Please supply a copy of all correspondence between CIAL and Rebecca McElrea.

Also, separately, please confirm the date and location of any open public meeting where anyone could attend or drop in, and where questions did not have to be submitted in advance to a host or moderator. If none meet this criteria, please say so.

Yours faithfully,

Nikki McKay

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From: Nikki McKay

Dear Christchurch International Airport Limited,

Could you please post your reply (by email to me, dated 10 October 2022) directly to FYI.org, and not to my personal email address? I will then mark the request as partially answered.

With regards to this specific request (re community engagement) ...

Re your answer a) ...
- please list/identify the six "community and member groups" in row 6
- please list/identify the six "business groups" in row 8
- please identify the sectors for the "sector workshops" in row 10
- for all rows 1-10, please identify which groups were met with face to face, and which were met with in person.

Re your answer b) ...
I disagree that divulging your engagement plan would disadvantage CIAL. Your CEO has said that engagement is your number one priority, yet there are complaints from affected communities that you are not engaging. The Minister for SOE has required you to engage respectfully. It would show transparency and increase trust to publish your engagement strategy/plan, and this would not disadvantage you strategically in any way.

Re your answer c) ...
Firstly, by waiting 20 working days to ask for clarity on our question, you are in breach of the requirements of the Official Information Act. The Act requires this to be done within 10 days.

To clarify, I am seeking a copy of all correspondence between CIAL and Rebecca McElrea (or her business(es)) which cover her engagement with CIAL and planning/delivery of PR and community engagement services.

Yours faithfully,

Nikki McKay

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From: CIAL Legal Team
Christchurch International Airport Limited

Kia ora Ms McKay,

Thank you for your email message of 19 October 2022 (via fyi.org.nz) seeking further information from CIAL in relation to CIAL's Community Engagement about the proposed Central Otago Airport project.

CIAL confirms it provided its decision on your initial requests for information of 09 September 2022 directly to you on 10 October via your personal email address in satisfaction of CIAL’s obligations under the Official Information Act 1982.

We are now considering your follow up request for further information and will endeavour to respond as soon as possible and in accordance with the applicable statutory time frames.

Ngâ mihi
CIAL Legal Team

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Nikki McKay left an annotation ()

Initial reply received from CIAL 10th October 2022.

10 October 2022
Nikki McKay
Email:

Tēnā koe Ms McKay,
OFFICIAL INFORMATION ACT 1982 (OIA) – THREE (3) REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION - CHRISTCHURCH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT LIMITED (CIAL)
1. We write further to our email of 13 September 2022, acknowledging receipt of your three OIA requests of 9 and 10 September 2022 to CIAL seeking the following information:
Request 1 - Received Friday 9 September 2022 2.23pm: Community Engagement about Central Otago Airport
In relation to the proposed Central Otago Airport, up to and including Monday 5th September 2022:
a. list of all groups which have been met with, the date of the meeting, and the number of people in attendance;
b. copy of the engagement plan (or any guiding documents outlining the engagement strategy);
c. copy of all correspondence between CIAL and Rebecca McElrea; and
d. Confirmation of the date and location of any open public meeting where anyone could attend or drop in, and where questions did not have to be submitted in advance to a host or moderator. If none meet this criteria, please say so.
Request 2 - Received Friday 9 September 2022 2.39 pm: Carbon Emissions
a. detailed breakdown of CIAL’s carbon emissions measurements used in the most recent CIAL carbon emissions report; and
b. a list of all CIAL tenants and an indication beside each of whether their energy consumption-related carbon emissions have been incorporated in scope 1, scope 2, or scope 3 emissions, or not at all (for any reason).
Request 3 - Received Saturday 10 September 2022 8.22am: Tarras Community Fund
In response to news published in the Tourism Ticker on Monday 5th September 2022 about the Tarras Community Fund you have requested the following information:
a. CIAL board minutes relating to the rationale for and decision to proceed with the fund;
b. The documents which establish the Tarras Community Fund, as well as any documents which give clarity around its rules and processes, including the formal process for reviewing, selecting, and awarding grants;
c. Confirmation of when this process was formally put in place;
d. The documentation which confirms the relationship, rules and requirements for each recipient, including a funding agreement if there is one;
e. Documentation showing how community representatives (to administer the fund) were identified and selected; and
f. Correspondence between CIAL and the community representatives managing the fund.
2. CIAL will provide you with the requested information where it is able. However, you will note within this letter that it is occasionally unable to release requested information if it would prejudice or disadvantage CIAL’s commercial activities. Before we answer you specific queries, it may be helpful to provide some context to this.
3. The OIA permits an organisation to refuse to release requested information it holds if the withholding of such information is necessary to enable the organisation to carry out its commercial activities or negotiations without prejudice or disadvantage (s 9(i) and s9(j) OIA) provided that such withholding is not outweighed in the circumstances by the public interest in making the specific information available. For example, while it may be in the public interest to understand that CIAL is investigating the feasibility of establishing an airport in Central Otago that does not mean CIAL must share every detail of its analysis, work or negotiations within specific work streams.
4. At present CIAL is under no legal obligation to consult in relation to the Project. To assist public understanding of the context of the Project and CIAL’s decisions, CIAL has committed to, and does, proactively publish information as it completes pieces of work which is likely to be in the public interest to receive on its dedicated Project web-site at https://www.centralotagoairport.co.nz/. Until work is completed, it is not capable of being released. Over time this will see more information voluntarily released. In such instances the public interest test will have been considered and weighed up as part of the decision whether to release information or not. Equally, each OIA query CIAL receives will be assessed on a case by case basis given the particular given facts and circumstances at play at that time.
5. CIAL is a council-controlled trading organisation that has been specifically established to operate and manage its business as an independent commercial undertaking for the purposes of making a profit, and to follow generally accepted commercial practices and disciplines. CIAL is not a public body collecting and spending public funds. It operates as a wholly commercial, standalone entity. Due to the size and scale of those activities it is one of only three major airports in New Zealand regulated under Part 4 of the Commerce Act.
6. As an airport CIAL has a further overriding obligation under the Airport Authorities Act to act as a commercial undertaking. It does so in a commercially competitive environment both domestically and internationally, where its competitors are not under corresponding disclosure requirements. The proposed Central Otago airport
project is a complex commercial activity, acknowledged as being in competition with
the interests of other airports within New Zealand.
7. Taking each of your specific queries in turn, we respond as follows:
Request 1 (Proposed Central Otago Airport):
a. list of all groups which have been met with, the date of the meeting, and
the number of people in attendance: CIAL has met with a number of different
individuals and entities, including specific representatives of community groups,
business groups, businesses, and local authorities. A breakdown of these is
provided below:
Description Numbers in
attendance
1 Tarras Community Hall 27 June 2020 150-200
2 Community Drop in
Days – Tarras
Community Hall
March 2021 120
3 Individuals (residents) Various 125
4 Individuals (business &
other representatives)
Various 40
5 Mana whenua Hui with 3 Papatipu
Rūnunga and their
representatives at
various dates.
Number of attendees
not known
6 Community & member
groups
Meetings with 6 groups
at various dates
135
7 Secondary Schools Cromwell College, Mt
Aspiring College,
Dunstan High School at
various dates
120 students and
staff
8 Business Groups Meetings with 7 groups
at various dates
145
9 Local Authorities Central Otago District
Council, Cromwell
Community Board,
Christchurch City
Council, Southland
Mayoral Forum, Otago
Regional Economic
Development Forum at
various dates (see e
below)
Total number of
attendees not known
10 Sector Workshops July 2022 35
Attendance numbers at meetings have not been recorded and numbers used in
the table above are estimates. References to meetings includes those held by
Zoom, MS Teams or other means during Covid-19. Except as described in rows
1, 2 and 9 above, those were non-public meetings, including where CIAL has
responded to invitations to it to speak. However, CIAL is not able to disclose
further information including the specific identity of those groups or individuals,
with the information requested being withheld under Sections 9(2)(a), 9(2)(b)(ii)
and 9(2)(i) of the OIA;
b. copy of the engagement plan (or any guiding documents outlining the
engagement strategy): Information on CIAL’s approach to engagement can be
found at its dedicated Project web-site at https://www.centralotagoairport.co.nz/
and is described in the introductory paragraphs of our response. CIAL is under
no legal obligation to consult in relation to the Project or otherwise publicly
engage at present. To assist public understanding of the context of the Project
and CIAL's decisions, CIAL has committed to respectfully engaging with the
community and proactively publishing information as it completes pieces of work.
The release of CIAL’s internal plans, strategies and methodologies may
disadvantage CIAL’s ability to carry out its commercial activities in relation to the
Project. Accordingly, this information is withheld under Section 9(2)(i) of the OIA;
c. copy of all correspondence between CIAL and Rebecca McElrea: Could you
please provide context to this broad request and narrow it down so that CIAL is
better able to understand and, where possible, meet your query. As it stands,
CIAL is not able to release this information due to sections 9(2)(g)(i) (maintain
free and frank expression of opinions), 9(2)(g)(ii) (protection from improper
pressure/harassment), and 18(f) (substantial collation including redaction of
personal information) of the OIA.
d. Confirmation of the date and location of any open public meeting where
anyone could attend or drop in, and where questions did not have to be
submitted in advance to a host or moderator. If none meet this criteria,
please say so: See response at (a) above. CIAL has held or been invited to the
following meetings or information sessions which could be described as being
open to the public:
i. Tarras Community Hall 27 June 2020
ii. Community Drop in Days – Tarras Community Hall March 2021
iii. Central Otago District Council Briefing 30 July 2020, 9 Dec 2020, 13
September 2021, 27 April 2022
iv. Cromwell Community Board Briefing 21 June 2022
Access was not restricted to these meetings or sessions and questions did not
need to be submitted in advance.
In respect of other meetings or information sessions held or hosted by third
parties, CIAL has not imposed restrictions.
Request 2 (Carbon Emissions):
a. detailed breakdown of CIAL’s carbon emissions measurements used in
the most recent CIAL carbon emissions report: CIAL publicly publishes its
independently audited GHG emissions on our website at
https://www.christchurchairport.co.nz/gl...
sustainability/carbon/fy21-independent-ghg-footprint-report-for-cial.pdf
This includes a detailed breakdown of the Scope 1, 2 and 3 totals (see page 16
of the report in the above link);
b. a list of all CIAL tenants and an indication beside each of whether their energy consumption-related carbon emissions have been incorporated in scope 1, scope 2, or scope 3 emissions, or not at all (for any reason): We can not release the list of all CIAL tenants as to do would disadvantage our commercial activities (section 9(2)(i) OIA), however we can confirm that our footprint does reflect our tenants energy-consumption related emissions, which sit in scope 3.
It might also be of interest to you that our footprint varies slightly from other airports, as we measure full flight emissions, and full ground access emissions - which goes well beyond the current industry norm, which measures only landing and take-off emissions.
Request 3 (Tarras Community Fund):
a. CIAL board minutes relating to the rationale for and decision to proceed with the fund: The establishment and operation of the Tarras Community Fund sits within existing financial delegations of the Chief Executive and Project Director of CIAL. Although not requiring a decision from the Board of CIAL, the establishment of the Tarras Community Fund and subsequent grants has been subject to reports provided by the Project Director alongside other executive reports which the Board receives as part of regular reporting cycles. Copies of those minutes are withheld on the grounds set out in Section 9(2)(g) and 9(2)(i), of the OIA
b. The documents which establish the Tarras Community Fund, as well as any documents which give clarity around its rules and processes, including the formal process for reviewing, selecting, and awarding grants: Please see the website link below which contains the Tarras Community Fund Information Pack setting out the processes, including the formal process for reviewing, selecting, and awarding grants. This can be found at the Project website https://www.centralotagoairport.co.nz/up...
c. Confirmation of when this process was formally put in place: The decision to proceed with the Tarras Community Fund, and its initial distribution of $20,000 to the Friends of Tarras School, was formally communicated on 23 February 2022. The Tarras Community Fund Information Pack setting out the processes, including the formal process for reviewing, selecting, and awarding grants was published on or about 30 May 2022.
d. The documentation which confirms the relationship, rules and requirements for each recipient, including a funding agreement if there is one: Please see the Tarras Community Fund Application Form in the below weblink which, together with the Tarras Community Fund Information Pack confirms the relationship, rules and requirements for each recipient. https://www.centralotagoairport.co.nz/up.... There is no funding agreement.
e. Documentation showing how community representatives (to administer the fund) were identified and selected: Community Representatives were selected following discussion with members of the community. A group of local residents, Pete Jolly, Rachelle Haslegrave, Michelle Dacombe and Jonny Trevathan, who had expressed a willingness to do so, were invited by CIAL to form an Establishment Group to help design the fund and establish its application and distribution processes. The Establishment Group was invited to co-opt further members of the Tarras Community Fund Committee to oversee the fund. There is no formal documentation in place in relation to initial appointments. The process in relation to further appointments can be found in the Tarras Community Fund Information Pack; and
f. Correspondence between CIAL and the community representatives managing the fund: Could you please provide context to this broad request and narrow it down so that CIAL is better able to understand and, where possible, meet your query. Decisions in relation to the Tarras Community Fund are made by the Tarras Community Fund Committee in accordance with its rules and process and such decisions are expressed to be final. As it stands, CIAL is not able to release this information relating to private volunteers from the local community due to the following sections of the OIA, 9(2)(a) (protection of privacy), 9(2)(g)(i) (maintain free and frank expression of opinions), 9(2)(g)(ii) (protection from improper pressure/harassment), and 18(f) (substantial collation including redaction of personal information).
8. We trust we have answered your requests for information. If you require any further information or we have in some way misinterpreted your requests, please let us know.
9. You have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of the decisions contained in this letter. Information about how to contact the Ombudsman or make a complaint is available at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or freephone 0800 802 602.
Yours sincerely
CIAL LEGAL TEAM
Email: legal@cial.co.nz

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From: Nikki McKay

Dear CIAL Legal Team,

On re-reading your most recent reply, you have failed to provide some of the details I asked for in relation to meeting dates.

For request 1, section (a), namely "list of all groups which have been met with, the date of the meeting, and the number of people in attendance", I am asking for ALL of the dates for ALL of the meetings.

You haven't yet provided these dates for the following lines in your table:
- line 3
- line 4
- line 5
- line 6 (and please identify the groups specifically against each date)
- line 7 (ditto)
- line 8 (ditto)
- line 9 (ditto)
- line 10 (ditto)

Yours sincerely,

Nikki McKay

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From: Nikki McKay

Dear CIAL Legal Team,

Further to our previous correspondence, although you have a record or my personal email address for other purposes, I am politely but firmly requesting that you continue to correspond with me via this FYI.org platform and not via my personal email. I consider that section OIA section 16(2) gives me (as the requester) that right, and there is no reason for you to do otherwise. Please ensure that you publish your previous letter to me here also.

Yours sincerely,

Nikki McKay

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Christchurch International Airport Limited only: