MEDIA RELEASE GotB: Airport Extension proposal delayed yet again – raising doubts about viability

For immediate release 6 March 2017 Residents’ and ratepayers’ group the Guardians of the Bays have today welcomed news that Wellington International Airport has requested an interim adjournment of proceedings from the Environment Court. The request from the Airport comes in response to the Court of Appeal ruling that the Civil Aviation Authority must reconsider its decision on the length of the proposed runway safety area. Guardians of the Bays’ Co-Chair Richard Randerson said the request showed that WIAL has not considered all the issues in enough depth. “We are pleased that the Airport is reconsidering its position. The runway extension proposal continues to face hurdles because it has not been well considered or evaluated. This serious concern around safety is just one of many examples where the numbers don’t stack up. There is already evidence that the proposal is likely to cost more than the $350m originally suggested. An extension to the runway safety area would push costs well over the half a billion dollars it is currently expected to reach and would put the project well outside the parameters of the current Environment Court application.” Co-Chair Dr. Sea Rotmann said the burden to ratepayers and taxpayers of the Read More …

RE-BLOG Werewolf: Gordon Campbell on the runway extension’s latest court failure

March 1, 2017 Gordon Campbell         Thank goodness for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). The Court of Appeal has just ringingly found in favour of the pilots’ union over the safety issues raised by the Wellington runway extension. Not only has the previous High Court ruling been overturned. The Director of Civil Aviation (CAA) has also been ordered told back to the drawing board to properly do the job of evaluating the size of the safety areas required for the extension, in full accord with New Zealand’s international obligations. The pilots union were also compensated by the Court of Appeal judges for their costs in bringing the court action. Interestingly, the reasoning in the Court of Appeal decision almost exactly mirrored the detailed critique of the original High Court decision made in this Werewolf article last October. All along, the pilots’ safety-related legal challenge had revolved around the size of the 90 metre long Runway End Safety Area (RESA) being proposed for the runway extension. Basically, the RESA is the safety zone required if and when planes ‘run off’ the runway proper and need to decelerate safely, in the event of an emergency, or because of Read More …

RE-BLOG CROAKING CASSANDRA: Wellington airport and the runway extension

By Michael Reddell, October 17, 2016. Link here. Fairfax’s Hamish Rutherford had a substantial piece in Saturday’s Dominion-Post on the proposed Wellington airport runway extension, under the heading If we build it, will they come? (a rather similar title to my own first post on the airport last year).  It seemed like a fairly balanced article, covering many (but not all) of the key uncertainties about the project.   Most of them wouldn’t be a matter for public concern if this was to be a privately-funded project, but it isn’t –  and everyone agrees on that. There was an interesting quote to that effect at the start of the article from airport company chair Tim Brown. As Tim Brown tells it, the first time he discussed a “back of the envelope”-type analysis of the cost to extend Wellington runway with the airport’s chief executive, Steve Sanderson, the conversation was “completely negative”. …..Brown had just been presented an outline of a $300 million project, aiming to enable non-stop long-haul flights to the capital. However, the  potential gains to the airport (two-thirds owned by Infratil, the rest by Wellington City Council) were likely to see a boost in profits that would only justify it investing around Read More …

RE-BLOG CROAKING CASSANDRA: Subsidy City… Wellington Airport

By Michael Reddell Link At about 3pm, the first Singapore Airlines flight to Wellington, via Canberra of all places, lands at Wellington Airport.  Wellington-boosters, well represented on the Council and the Chamber of Commerce, talk up the first “long-haul” flight to and from Wellington.  All of which would be more impressive if it were not for the ratepayers’ money being (secretly – no information on the amounts or terms of these sweetheart deals, no robust cost-benefit analysis etc) used to make it all possible.    Were the flights financially self-supporting that would be the best evidence of them being “a good thing”.  But they aren’t.  That means (a) a presumption against them being “a good thing”, and (b) a likelihood that they won’t survive for long, at least without some permanent subsidy from the long-suffering ratepayers of Wellington. It probably isn’t a subsidy to the giant Singapore Airlines –  they’ll probably just manage a normal return on capital –  but by quite which canons of social justice ratepayers should be subsidizing government departments (probably the main purchasers of tickets on the Wellington-Canberra leg, and one of the larger sources of international passengers from Wellington) is beyond me. But at least these Read More …

RE-BLOG SAVE THE BASIN: 310 Extra Heavy Trucks A Day Through Mt Victoria Tunnel – How Does That Sound?

Re-blogged from Save the Basin (Tim Jones) Up to 310 extra heavy trucks a day rumbling from quarries in Horokiwi and Ngauranga, down State Highway 1, through the Terrace Tunnel, past the Basin Reserve, through the Mt Victoria Tunnel, and on through residential streets to Wellington Airport, day and night, for up to 3 years – and then rumbling back. That’s what Wellington International Airport Ltd wants to inflict on Wellington’s residents and ratepayers. They are seeking $90 million from Wellington City Council, and more again from other Wellington-region councils and central government, to extend Wellington Airport runway 363 metres into Lyall Bay. And their resource consent application makes it clear the scale of the disruption their plans will entail. There are many arguments against this plan – and you will find a lot of them on the Guardians of the Bays website. But even people who may not be opposed to a runway extension per se need to pay attention to the construction traffic implications, because they are serious both for road users and for those living near the planned route who value their lifestyle – and their sleep. If you like a long read, Technical Report 9 is Read More …

RE-BLOG KEITH JOHNSON: TIME FOR ‘A CUP OF TEA’ ON BIG IDEAS?

Local economist, policy adviser and writer Keith Johnson says he will push for greater accountability, lower rate and debt rises, and higher levels of scrutiny for project planning and implementation. The contest for Wellington’s mayoralty is heating up, with profesional public policy analyst and citizen journalist Keith Johnson declaring that he will enter the race as an independent. Johnson joins incumbent mayor Celia Wade-Brown, deputy mayor Justin Lester and councillors Nicola Young and Jo Coughlan in declaring their candidacies in the October election. Reining in the Council’s sometimes massive, and apparently somewhat casual and arbitrary spending plans will be his top priority. Like Jo Coughlan, Johnson is highly critical of the Council’s approach to transport planning, arguing that it is driven by emotion rather than objectivity. He agrees with Jo that failure to solve the Basin Reserve’s peak hour congestion has resulted in “lost years” of progress, resulting from the canning of a proposed highway flyover and a failure to promote a practical alternative. Unlike all the other candidates who are standing, Keith is also highly critical of plans for the Council to contribute $90 million to the proposed Wellington Airport Runway Extension Project. He sees this as yet another Read More …

RE-BLOG TRANSPORTING WELLINGTON: What does Justin Lester really stand for?

It’s great to hear Labour candidate Justin Lester launching his campaign with good ol’ fashioned pork barrelling. In fact, you can view a pretty slick campaign video done by his campaign team. Or read his speech for his campaign launch. However, lets peel back below the surface and see what he might bring for us Wellingtonians. Will he be touting his Labour values or will he turn out to be Celia II? A quick Google search yielded the following results. This was from 2013. We talk, for example, about being open for business, but you still can’t submit a building consent on-line. We have some excellent cycling proposals. But there’s currently no funding to roll them out. We need more people coming here to invest, work, live and spend. To help encourage this I’ll be focusing on the following: Creating a city cycling network by doubling our investment in cycling. We have lots of excellent cycling initiatives proposed, I want to see them put in place. Source This was said by Justin Lester on Newstalk ZB after the Island Bay Cycleway was approved. Joyous he was about supporting Celia Wade-Brown ramming through the controversial Island Bay “cycleway to nowhere.” Tim Read More …

RE-BLOG STRATHMORE PARK: Wellington Airport Extension – More shocking facts emerge

Posted some weeks back this is the submission by the Guardian’s of the Bay on the so-called Airport Extension, or otherwise known out this way as the White Elephant Project. What is interesting are the take outs from the submission. We’ve summarised them so you don’t have to read the entire thing though we suggest you do. We’d suggest the authors have more skill and experience than the authors of the “reports” so far that have been anything but convincing in their argument to put our rates up and provide corporate welfare for a company that is not only helping contribute to emissions (Z Energy) but also has several hundred million sitting about. Now, some of these are my notes mixed in with GotB’s notes. So that you know. The original submission is here. Things you didn’t know about the Wellington Airport Extension There is still no way central government is going to pay because the Council hasn’t followed the Treasury Guidelines to apply for funding. Despite calls for Consultation, the WCC not only has failed to do so, but it also appears that they have already made up their mind. Even Green councilors, Free, and Lee, have not made Read More …

RE-BLOG Transport Blog: WCC proposes to reduce emissions by increasing congestion and encouraging more long haul flights

It’s amazing what the Wellington City Council gets up to. Living Wage. Supporting the airport runway extension by using overly optimistic figures. Jinxing NZTA’s plan to reduce congestion in the inner city and the Eastern Suburbs. Island Bay Cycleway. Zealandia bailout. Convention centres. Selling Jack Illot Green and the Michael Fowler carpark to build high rise buildings. The list goes on and on… I suppose the #WellingtonWay of reducing carbon emissions is to increase carbon emissions and destroy a marine reserve! Anyway, I will focus on the rank hypocrisy of the Wellington City Council in regards to its proposed Climate Action Plan. The plan is to wage a war against the car while preaching for an airport runway extension, more long haul flights and helping their developer mates. It is unbelievable that the Green Party is staying quiet about it [Ed: they are not. David Lee and Sarah Free have both come out in public against the extension]. Maybe only the Greens are allowed to massively increase emissions and destroy a marine reserve while saying they’ll do the opposite! Anyone else who does the same thing would get roasted by them and their supporters. One of them (proposals) is a Read More …

Yet another world expert says the runway extension is pure fantasy

Once again the Guardians’ concerns with regard to the inadequacy of the information and therefore the flimsy nature of the business case has been endorsed, this time by an international expert. Isn’t it high time that we start listening to some experts other than the shills paid by the airport? But – you will say (if you are Justin Lester) – these are just shills paid by Air New Zealand, who clearly have a nefarious “Anti-Wellington” agenda! Well, we find it hard to argue that Montie Brewer can be accused of an “Anti-Wellington” agenda, seeing he is an actual world expert (not like InterVISTAS who get paid to lobby) and doesn’t have any skin in the game either way. What is so incredibly disconcerting to us is that none of the Councillors who are so willing to throw our taxpayer money at this have read any of the reports! Not even the discredited, half-baked ones that the airport did which they paid for with our money! Cause anyone who reads these reports – and the many retorts against their validity – can make up their own mind pretty quickly about how well the data was collected or how far the Read More …