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 …

RE-BLOG Transporting Wellington: Airport runway extension does not stack up. Lester spits the dummy

It is true that the Airport runway extension does not make sense. Therefore it is important that the information gets out to the wider community, rather than just to a bunch of local bloggers. This from  Strathmore Park. For years now, Wellington International Airport and it’s pet monkey the WCC have been pushing for an airport extension. And for years now, it hasn’t stacked up. No small wonder when the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) and the Board of Airlines Representatives of New Zealand (BARNZ) slammed the business case that the Pollyanna Team had put together in support of the extension. The WCC has poured millions after millions into this project paying for reports that have been slammed every time they are produced. This airport extension does not stack up, for anyone, other than Infratil. Key Finding: the central scenario BCR of 1.7 is significantly over-stated The reason that it stacks up for Infratil is that they, being in a monopoly position, can take profit based on square meterage. This is governed by the Commerce Commission. The more land they have the more profit they can take. It is no small wonder then that attempting to secure thousands of Read More …

OUR SUBMISSION TO THE WELLINGTON CITY COUNCIL’S ANNUAL PLAN

We have submitted the following to the WCC’s Annual Plan – as they were asking for ‘good ideas’ from the community of how to spend our money better. It may be largely lip-service, seeing the Council has gotten a lot of flak recently over their public ‘consultation’ (or lack thereof) processes, but we felt it was important to continue to engage with the Council and to use this democratic process. Dr Sea Rotmann, our Co-Chair spoke to the submission and Clive Anstey had also sent it round to every Councillor with a cover letter beforehand. Councillor Andy Foster, to his credit, replied with an immediate and thoughtful response, outlining the many caveats that would still need to be met before the Council would decide to spend the $90m that were already earmarked for this proposal in the Long Term Plan. He also spoke to Dr Rotmann and Mr Anstey during the break, which may have been a bit of a mistake: He told them that his mind was still completely open (good!) but that he wasn’t sure that emotions (on both sides) weren’t getting in the way of the facts (our main emotion is frustration that the airport’s ‘facts’ are Read More …

RE-BLOG Strathmore Park: Wellington Airport extension supporters suffering Polyannaism

For years now, Wellington International Airport and it’s pet monkey the Wellington City Council have been pushing for an airport extension. And for years now, it hasn’t stacked up. No small wonder when the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) and the Board of Airlines Representatives of New Zealand (BARNZ) slammed the business case that the Pollyanna Team had put together in support of the extension. The WCC has poured millions after millions into this project paying for reports that have been slammed every time they are produced. This airport extension does not stack up, for anyone, other than Infratil. Key Finding: the central scenario BCR of 1.7 is significantly over-stated. The reason that it stacks up for Infratil is that they, being in a monopoly position, can take profit based on square meterage. This is governed by the Commerce Commission. The more land they have the more profit they can take. It is no small wonder then that attempting to secure thousands of extra square meters, with the public paying far more than their fair share, is attractive. There are numerous gaps in the draft analysis. But the Council continues to support the extension despite the evidence showing Read More …

REBLOG Strathmore Park Blog: Singapore Airlines just saved Wellington $90m

News this week that Singapore Airlines will be flying “direct” from Wellington to Singapore via Canberra single-handedly proving that we don’t need a $300m plus runway extension to access Asia and saving the ratepayers the $90m that was looking earmarked for the project. Rejoice Wellington. In a Powerpoint Presentation written by what appears to be a PR Company engaged by the Wellington City Council, (WCC Presentation), the platitudes run thick and fast. Sadly, as usual, the propaganda is flowing in some places. “It proves that direct flights to Asia will be feasible.” Well, no, it proves that flights to Singapore via Canberra will be feasible right up until the point other competition enters the same market. Because right now Singapore Air gets the march on consumers wanting to fly to Asia, but once another airline starts the same route, the economics are likely to be stuffed proper. And Singapore Airlines are getting subsidised by the ratepayers it seems. In terms of direct flights to Asia, it really doesn’t prove anything. In fact, so far, the WCC and WIAL have single-handedly failed to explain how it will be economically viable. We already know that twenty airlines have said they wouldn’t use Read More …

Singapore here we come! As long as it is subsidised…

Yesterday, the Capital’s worst-kept secret has been confirmed: Singapore Airlines is starting a 4-day a week service from Wellington to Singapore via Canberra. But there are some pretty serious questions yet to be answered about how this miracle came about. The new ‘capital express’ service will begin in September, with seats going on sale on January 25. Return flights to Canberra will start from $587 and from $1808 for return flights from Wellington to Singapore return. Great, but right now you can book a 14h Qantas/Emirates flight from Wellington to Singapore via Sydney for NZ$1,044 return in September… You’re going to save a minimum of at least an hour and a half for every traveller and that’s a great benefit,” Wellington’s Deputy Mayor Justin Lester said at the signing ceremony. Yes, maybe via Auckland but not via Christchurch or Sydney… This is effectively a direct flight [to Singapore],” [Transport Minister Simon] Bridges said. Source Or… really not so much – it really is a Trans Tasman flight with a transit option to Singapore… This flight will indeed make up for some of the extra time spent in Auckland (calculated as an overly pessimistic up to 4h transit time by InterVISTAS), Read More …

REBLOG Keith Johnson: The business case for (or should that be against?) the Wellington runway extension

DOWN TO EARTH WITH A BUMP Everyone is slowly getting back to normality after the Christmas Holidays here in the Antipodes. The holidays are taken very seriously [or should I say ‘unseriously’], resulting both in substantial brain-fade during their duration and the build up of a toxic aversion to a return work among most citizens. Like many, I took work with me during my vacation and did virtually nothing. I had loaded the SELENA Spreadsheet Model on my hard drive. This had been supplied under an Official Information Request to the consulting group Sapere, via Wellington City Council. These Rascals used the Model to generate the numbers for the Report which they prepared for Wellington International Airport Limited [WIAL]: ‘Cost Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Runway Extension at Wellington International Airport’ [by Kieran Murray, John Wallace, Preston Davies – you naughty boys]. Fortunately, when I tried to test the scenarios and unlock the coding behind the Model, I was met with the instruction: ‘The cell or chart you are trying to change is protected and read only. To modify … you may be prompted for a password’. This allowed me to get back on the plonk and chill. However, I Read More …

REBLOG Croaking Cassandra: Further thoughts on the Wellington Airport Part 2

In my first post today, I posed some questions around the plausibility of the assumed increase in international travel into and out of New Zealand if the proposed Wellington airport runway extension was to proceed. In this post, I want to focus mainly on how the consultants have calculated the net national benefits from the runway extension. The Sapere cost-benefit analysis estimates net benefits to New Zealand from proceeding with the runway extension now of $2090 million (2015/16 dollars).  These results are summarised in Table 30 of the report.  Of these gains, just under half accrue to New Zealand users of the airport (in respect of both passenger and freight traffic) and just over half accrue to “other sections of the community”. Even if the passenger number assumptions are correct, the benefits to New Zealand users appear to be somewhat overstated, and the benefits to the rest of the community are largely non-existent. Take  the users first.    The main benefit to New Zealand users is the lower cost of travel.   Much of that is the cost of time.  The consultants have valued the time of New Zealand travellers using some standard values from an Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority document, but Read More …

REBLOG Strathmore Park: Knowing better than the locals

by Lindsay Shelton The Wellington Airport campaign to promote a longer runway is similar to the Transport Agency’s campaign about building a flyover at the Basin Reserve. Both commissioned large numbers of experts to support what they wanted to do. Both failed to connect with the communities who would be most affected. The Transport Agency commissioned 21 reports in support of its flyover idea –ten of them from Opus Consulting. This led to a discussion about conflict of interest, which was followed by the resignation of one of the four government-appointed members of the board of inquiry. (At the same time as Opus was supporting the flyover plan, it was also writing a report for the Regional Council, warning that the consequences of building new motorways would increase congestion in Wellington. A reminder that experts can be commissioned to write reports that reflect different, even conflicting, points of view.) The Transport Agency’s 21 reports failed to convince the board of inquiry, or the High Court, both of whom rejected the flyover. And now the airport has released 27 reports, all singing the praises of a longer runway. The one that we’ve focussed on is the noise report – which tells Read More …

SOME REAL FACTS ABOUT THE AIRPORT EXTENSION

This week, we hoped that TV One News would give us the chance to provide some counter to the big bunch of spin all over the Dom Post recently. That was unfortunately not the case. The pilots, airline association and Steven Joyce have now all come out with serious doubts and concerns following the airport’s dump of 27 impact reports. Steven Joyce sent this (quite hilarious) tweet in response to the news: It is quite heartening for us when the National and Green Parties both agree that this amounts to economic folly, and that it basically is a form of corporate welfare. It is, however, a more serious issue for the Mayor who has been quoted: She [the Mayor] is confident the Wellington Airport runway extension will go ahead and be a game-changer for the local economy. Contrary to the claims of critics, she says, there are airlines seriously interested in backing the project. And the business case will be so good the Government won’t be able to refuse its backing either. It is also a serious issue for the Airport, as its own highly one-sided cost-benefit analysis (the peer review of NZIER as well as our own will soon Read More …