Runway Extension Opponent Submission Guide

We understand that a number of opponent submitters are concerned about the section in the GWRC submission form that asks us to identify whether we wish to request an Independent Commissioner to hear and decide the application because of the potential cost implications identified. Please note, this question is only relevant where Council hearings are concerned. As you know, WIAL has asked for the hearing to be directly referred to the Environment Court. If that happens, this question becomes irrelevant.    The Councils have not yet released a decision on whether they will refer the application directly to the Environment Court, which is why the question asking whether submitters want an Independent Commissioner remains in the GWRC template submission form. However, submitters will find this out before the submission period closes on 12 August 2016. For this reason, we suggest submitters not concern themselves with this question at this stage and await the decision on direct referral. We consider that it is highly likely that the application will be referred to the Environment Court. We will update our website when the Councils release their decision on direct referral.

REPORT CAPA: Christchurch International Airport belies its ‘remoteness’; pivotal to New Zealand’s tourism

This report clearly shows why Christchurch, not Wellington, is the obvious second long-haul airport in New Zealand. In summary: ChCh airport already has a well-established runway that can fly in large, long-haul planes safely ChCh airport has no curfew and does not operate in the middle of the city ChCh has greater tourism and manufacturing and industry importance than Wgtn ChCh airport is higher ranked on most metrics than Wgtn: on ASKs (average seat km), seats and cargo payload It also has a higher degree of choice for passengers Emirates, Singapore, China Southern and Fiji airlines already fly long-haul from ChCh It has much greater cargo capacity than Wgtn It already has 3 runways and a completed major terminal upgrade It is entirely in the public hand (75% City Council, 25% NZ Govt) and will remain so Queenstown, not Wellington is its biggest competitor (but not for long-haul flights). Queenstown is the second busiest airport in the country already. REPORT: New Zealand is a remote country and Christchurch, on the South Island, a more remote city than either Auckland or Wellington. Being located at the far end of the world must impact on connectivity. The government has transformed New Zealand Read More …

Guardians submission on the WCC Low Carbon Capital Plan

SUBMISSION BY THE GUARDIANS OF THE BAYS ON THE WCC LOW CARBON PLAN Dr Sea Rotmann, May 3, 2016 It is good to see vision for a Low Carbon capital, with planning that will increase cycle-ways, electric charging stations, higher density building, ongoing smart energy challenges and phasing out minimum parking requirement. We like the statement “acting to reduce emissions helps the city as a whole” on page 6. However, this unfortunately cannot be taken as a serious statement with the airport and aviation emissions only being mentioned once in the plan on page 10: “On the other hand, we have a major international airport within the city limits, so we are credited with the emissions of nearly all of the region’s domestic air travel. This creates multiple complex challenges – with less forestry we aren’t able to offset as much; and with aviation being a substantial contributor to our transport emissions, greenhouse gas reductions will be driven by the availability of international solutions for aviation such as biofuels or gains in aircraft efficiency.” Waiting for international solutions for aviation and not counting our international aviation emissions as part of the city’s emissions profile, as well as supporting the extension Read More …

A truly independent review of the Airport’s Cost Benefit Analysis

Ian Harrison, a highly respected  Principal economist from Tailrisk Economics, has released a truly independent (i.e. not paid for or commissioned by any Party involved in the runway extension) review of the Cost-Benefit Analysis. It really is worth a read. To quote from his Executive Summary: Recently, the Wellington International Airport Company released a cost benefit analysis of the airport long-haul capability extension proposal that purports to show that the economic benefits are $2,090 million, and are 6.8 times the capital cost. However, the benefits appear to be substantially overstated and are driven by projections of long-haul passenger numbers that are not credible, and favourable assumptions that boost the subsequent benefits for New Zealand. In critical markets high growth rates have been trended forward without regard to convergence to higher income country norms, and no regard has been given to the prospect of global warming policy initiatives designed to slow air traffic growth. A more realistic assessment of the project would show much lower and possibly negative net benefits. It appears that one of the purposes of the report is to make a case for central and local funding of the airport extension. Putting in public money to secure benefits Read More …

All the reports from the airport so far

We dug up the second arrangement between the Council and the airport, where the Council agreed to fund the airport with an extra $1.95m towards fast-tracking the runway extension through a board of inquiry process. It’s a fascinating read, especially when you look at how badly the airport misjudged the initial costings and how it is getting the Council to co-fund its EPA process as well, even though it says this will be at the ‘cost of the applicant’. Hmmm. Another great insight is the Council’s own peer-review of the two airport reports (EY economic impact statement reviewed by PwC and INTERVista long-haul demand report reviewed by AirBiz). Even though they are summarised as ‘supporting the logic, methodology and process used by the WIAL reports’ when you actually read through them you find some very interesting caveats and cautions. For example: the passenger catchment area of 1.1 million people has been hugely overblown. Instead of the claimed 472,000 passengers that demand long-haul flights out of Wellington it is only 104,000! A quote from Price Waterhouse Cooper for the City Council: “PwC advises WCC that the potential to realise the benefits claimed in the EY report become progressively less certain the Read More …

All LTP submissions about the airport (pro and con)

We have gone through the trouble of looking at all 1049 formal LTP submissions. By searching for the term ‘airport’, we have identified over 100 submitters that specifically mentioned the runway extension proposal and have summarised their views in this document. It is very interesting to note that 87 submitters (>81%) were strongly opposed, with only 20 being for the runway extension. More interesting is that the opposition was largely made up of long, strong arguments against it (49 pages) whereas the proponents only used 9 pages to describe their reasoning, of which 7 were from the WIAL (airport) submission. Almost all others had significant caveats (highlighted in red), including the Chamber of Commerce, Property Council, Port Nicholson Trust, Ernst & Young, Deloittes and Kensington Swan. All progressive associations that submitted on this topic were against it. It is quite obvious that the Council did not make a similar analysis when reporting on the supposed support of their big 8 projects in the LTP! LTP Submissions Summary

WCC LTP ‘consultation’

Here was the online ‘consultation’ of the WCC for the runway extension as proposed in the LTP. This did not find its way into being considered an official submission, not that that was made clear to the submitters. It is very interesting to read the comments, pro and con as it becomes clear that the people who went online to vote for it, mainly give short statements like “Just get it done’ whereas the people who voted against it give long and considered reasons why they oppose it. It also needs to be noted that the question the Council asked in the LTP was highly disingenuous – ‘Do you support better air connectivity?’ is very different to ‘Do you support a $300m runway extension without a business case, plan or committed airline?’.

WCC Final Long Term Plan

This is the final LTP, after considerable submissions against the runway extension have been heard and received. Some major caveats have been added to the ring-fenced $90m for the runway extension: The LTP now says that the Council will make a final decision on this project and whether to commit funding to construction once: WIAL has obtained resource consent for the project The Council has received and considered a cost-benefit analysis and business case from WIAL that will be independently reviewed. Other key considerations that the Council has said will need to be considered before it makes its final decision relate to: The resilience of a runway extension to weather and climate change The proposed investment vehicle and any revenue agreement Satisfactory airline commitments Funding arrangements for construction and confirmed construction costs The governance and management structure to oversee construction. The Council has also said it will undertake further public consultation before making a final decision on whether to commit funding to construct the runway extension.