MEDIA RELEASE: Community Groups welcome Wellington Airport Delay at Environment Court

March 21, 2017 Residents and ratepayers group the Guardians of the Bays has welcomed the news that Wellington Airport will postpone the progression of its runway extension resource consent in the Environment Court. In advance of a pre-hearing conference on Thursday, the Airport has announced that it will withdraw its resource consent application while it appeals to the Supreme Court on 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 decision showed that Wellington Airport’s application was deficient in not considering possible contingencies such as the Court of Appeal decision. Wellington Airport has said in its own memo to the court that it will potentially need to rescope the application or withdraw it completely, if its appeal to the Supreme Court is unsuccessful. The Pilots Association case on the safety of the extension was before the courts well before Wellington Airport lodged its application to the Environment Court. Yet it still went ahead and used nearly $3 million of ratepayer funding to scope a proposal which now looks like it will be redundant. First and foremost, any Read More …

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 …

MEDIA RELEASE GotB: WIAL’S SUSPENSION OF RESOURCE CONSENT APPLICATION A WIN FOR WELLINGTON RATEPAYERS

September 9, 2016 Wellington International Airport’s decision today to request suspension of its application for resource consent for the runway extension is a big win for the people of Wellington, says resident and ratepayer group Guardians of the Bays. The request to suspend the application was made to Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. It comes one day after Wellington City Council released its 2016 Survey of Wellington Businesses showing that only eight percent of businesses find a lack of international capacity via Wellington International Airport a challenge to their business opportunities and operations. Richard Randerson, Co-Chair of Guardians of the Bays, said the withdrawal was not yet permanent but was a concession that the right questions have not been answered about the proposed extension. “Wellington ratepayers have challenged the evidence behind the proposed extension. Their questions have been justified and sensible and should have been asked before. “As a result of the increased public scrutiny we have seen a majority of mayoral candidates back-pedal on their outright support for the extension.” “That is because the public have serious doubts about this white-elephant and mayoral candidates are feeling the pressure,” added Mr Randerson. Last month, it was shown Read More …

Time to be heard is running out!

We have less than 3 weeks to collect submissions to the Environment Court that are opposing the proposed runway extension into Cook Strait. We have many wonderful groups and individuals who support us but need to get the 1000s of residents who will be adversely affected by this extension to have their voices heard by the court as well. The Airport and Council have done a great job in getting misinformation, spin and fantasies about limitless economic growth out into the public and there are a lot of misconceptions we have to battle to rouse people from their complacency. For example: Everyone of the 1000s of residents living along the heavy truck hauling route – did you know up to 30 trucks an hour, filled with rubble, will rumble past your homes day and night, clogging up traffic at major choke points for up to 4 years? Everyone who uses Lyall Bay recreationally – surfers, swimmers, surf life savers, dog walkers, fishermen, kai moana collectors – did you know about the 300m (or is it 250m? Different numbers in different reports, same with the final length of the runway) exclusion zone around the construction of both runway and wave focusing Read More …

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.

OPED DOM POST: Richard Randerson- The Runway Extension is pouring money into Cook Strait

See article here. JOHN NICHOLSON/FAIRFAX NZ Wellington Airport: Is it fair for public money to fund corporate profit and assets?  OPINION: Wellington Airport’s CEO, Steve Sanderson, wrote glowingly (Dominion Post, June 25) of the benefits from extending Wellington’s runway 355 metres into Cook Strait. The homework has been done, the benefits are clear, the money will flow, the resource consent application has been lodged and all that remains is for Wellingtonians to make supportive submissions to the Environment Court, he writes. Who could disagree that tourism, student numbers and business ventures would benefit from better connectivity? But would a runway extension achieve such benefits? And might there not be better ways to invest public money for that purpose? The costings for the whole project are murky. For some years now the cost of the extension has been stated to be $300 million. It matters not whether the extension goes 300m into Evans Bay, as originally proposed, or 355m into Cook Strait, as now proposed. READ MORE: * Steve Sanderson: Extending the Wellington Airport runway is the only option * Wellington Airport has no ‘Plan B’ if $300m runway extension fails to fly * Airport claims not all planes need to be able to land on longer runway * Pilots challenge safety zones Read More …

NEWS Dom Post: Wellington Airport has no ‘Plan B’ if $300m runway extension fails to fly

By Michael Forbes  Wellington Airport says it has no “Plan B” in place if its proposed runway extension fails to get off the ground. Airport representatives have told Wellington city councillors they do not expect the $300 million project to have any problems getting resource consent. But if it doesn’t fly, there are no contingency plans. “You either build the runway extension or you don’t, airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said on Tuesday. The project’s main opposition group, Guardians of the Bays, has revealed it already has a dozen technical experts lined up to testify against the project in the Environment Court. It is preparing a community fightback similar to the movement that killed off the Basin Reserve flyover in 2014, and its members predict the airport’s “arrogance” will come back to bite it. The airport wants to extend its runway south by 354 metres to allow for direct long-haul flights to Asia, and possibly the United States. It expects the project will be publicly notified by the Environment Court at the end of the week, with a resource consent hearing likely in February 2017. Sanderson told councillors to expect plenty of “shooting down” of the project by various groups over the coming months, Read More …

BLOG: MORE AND MORE WELLINGTONIANS ARE BECOMING CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROPOSED AIRPORT EXTENSION

Opposition to the proposed runway extension is growing if attendance at the recent Guardians of the Bays information evening is anything to go by. A diverse range of groups, from business, community, recreational and environmental organisations are asking questions to peel away the public relations spin around the ill-conceived, expensive airport extension proposal. Groups as diverse as Forest & Bird; various Residents’ Associations; Wellington businesses; Save the Basin; the Surfbreak Protection Society; Hue te Taka Society; OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council; the Wellington Underwater Club; 350.org and the Green Party, to name a few, were represented at last week’s meeting. It quickly became clear that everyone present was deeply concerned at the spin being put out by the airport company, and the potential cost it will have to ratepayers and taxpayers, and of course to the beautiful Wellington south coast. The meeting was MCed by Bishop Richard Randerson, who has national standing for his work in faith-based and place-based communities. He made it clear that an airport extension does not make Wellington more progressive, particularly when the ratepayers and taxpayers are being asked to subsidise one of New Zealand’s wealthiest companies. Dr Sea Rotmann, co-Chair of the Guardians Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE GUARDIANS OF THE BAYS: Wellington Regional Council Questions Proposed Airport Extension Application

Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) is putting the proposed Wellington Airport Extension under much needed scrutiny, according to concerned business, community and recreational groups. GWRC has today revealed it is putting Wellington Airport International Ltd’s resource consent application ‘on hold’ while it seeks further information on more than 46 issues of concern, including economic impacts, traffic issues and effects on recreation, endangered species, the ability to surf in Lyall Bay and the construction process. Dr Sea Rotmann, co-chair of the Guardians of the Bay, an umbrella group working with residents’ associations, businesses and recreational organisations, said robust scrutiny of WIAL’s public relations was well overdue. GWRC have made two separate requests for information and has also informed WIAL that it needs at least one additional consent, for stormwater discharge. “Our City Councillors and most mayoral candidates have failed to apply any level of real scrutiny. It is pleasing to see that the Regional Council is taking the robust approach that we should have seen all along,” Dr Rotmann said. “Wellington City Councillors and most mayoral candidates have been too quick to just accept a “trust me” approach from a private company to what will be a significant ratepayer investment. We Read More …

RE-BLOG KEITH JOHNSON: CentrePort Proposals to Scour Wellington Berths and Dredge Wellington Harbour Mouth need proper Multi-Criteria Appraisal

JUST BIGGER IS BETTER AS FAR AS TRAFFIC IS CONCERNED? By Keith Johnson While road transport increasingly grinds to a halt in Wellington and road rage is becoming common, partly consequent on Wellington City Council’s dog-in-the-manger approach to investment in roads, the Bigger is Better philosophy is receiving ringing endorsement from local authorities with respect to the aviation and maritime shipping industries. Much has been published on this website about Wellington International Airport’s Runway Extension Project – including an article by Dr Sea Rotmann which draws attention to the massive contribution of air travel worldwide to CO2 emissions. Maritime transport is also a major emitter. In this respect, Wellington Regional Council should be insisting upon a proper Multi-Criteria Assessment of the proposed dredging of Wellington Harbour by CentrePort. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/79692673/CentrePort-reveals-details-of-plans-to-dredge-7km-channel-in-Wellington-Harbour A Multi-Criteria Assessment would cover all dimensions of a major public investment: Cost-Benefit Analysis [including the Business Case] Economic Impacts Environmental and Safety Impacts Social and Distributional Impacts With the whole to be concluded with an over-arching summary of redlines and trade-offs. Looking at the current situation, the parallels between the CentrePort proposal and the Runway Extension Project are very interesting: Doubts about financial viability Optimistic multiplier-based ‘economic’ rather than business Read More …