7 Jun 2023

Auckland Councillor Chris Darby reveals financial interest in Auckland Airport, second this week

5:30 pm on 7 June 2023
Chris Darby at a Council meeting about the Unitary Plan. 10 August 2016.

Chris Darby. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

A second Auckland councillor has amended their financial interest declaration to include shares in Auckland Airport.

The council will vote on its annual budget on Thursday, with the proposed sale of its 18 percent stake in Auckland International Airport on the agenda.

Councillors have been asked to double-check whether they or their spouse owns shares in the airport before they're allowed to participate in the vote.

North Shore Councillor Chris Darby has updated his financial interest register to declare that his partner owns some shares.

In the document, he confirmed interests in a range of companies, including Ryman Properties, Vital Healthcare Properties, Sanford, Challenger Financial, DGL Group, Newmont and Pyne Gould.

His fellow councillor Julie Fairey, who is married to under-fire Cabinet minister Michael Wood, disclosed a shareholding earlier this week through a family trust.

Mayor Wayne Brown wants councillors to back the sale of $2.3 billion of airport shares as part of his budget plan to plug a massive deficit.

Fairey said the shares never had any bearing on her consideration of whether the council should sell.

Auckland councillor Julie Fairey stands next to a stream. She is looking at the camera and smiling.

Julie Fairey. Photo: The Detail/Sharon Brettkelly

The council said on Tuesday it could not confirm how many councillors or their spouses held shares.

Wood was stood down from his transport portfolio on Tuesday, after it emerged he held about $13,000 in Auckland Airport shares he bought as a teenager in the 1990s.

On Wednesday, it was revealed he had been asked a dozen times by the Cabinet Office about them, but they remained in his possession.

Wood did declare the shares to the Cabinet Office when he became a minister in 2020, but failed to declare them in the public register of MPs' assets and other interests until 2022. He said he thought they had already been sold.

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