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 …

BLOG Guardians of the Bays: You can’t have a Low Carbon Capital AND a runway extension

Our Co-Chair, Dr Sea Rotmann, made an impassioned plea to the City Councillors during consultation on the WCC Low Carbon Capital Plan the other day: “Please start taking this seriously, climate change is a reality and it is hitting us hard already. You cannot support an extension to the runway and claim that your efforts here are serious.” Sea talked a little bit about her background as Environmental Scientists for over 20 years and how she studied anthropogenic impacts on coral reefs for almost 10 years. “I have witnessed the bleaching event on the Great Barrier reef in 1998, and studied one in Papua New Guinea in 2001. They were nothing compared to the massive bleaching and die-off of coral reefs we are witnessing right now. I was lucky enough to have done my Honours research on the most beautiful place in Australia, Lizard Island. Now, 95% of its reefs, some of the most pristine on the planet, are bleached and less than 50% will recover. We are responsible for the die-off of species on which 1/3 of the marine environment depend on, which have lived for 450 million years, and yet 200 years of our rampant fossil fuel use 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 …

NEWS Dom Post: Wellington residents call for big council salaries to be trimmed to keep rates down

 by Michael Forbes CAMERON BURNELL/ FAIRFAX NZ Wellington City councillors have spent the past two days hearing what members of the public think the capital’s rates should be spent on. If Wellington City Council needs a way to keep the rates down, it could always lighten the pay packets of almost 200 staff who earn more than $100,000. That was the rather blunt suggestion from the Mt Victoria Residents Association during public hearings on this year’s annual plan. The council has proposed an average rates increase of 3.8 per cent for 2016/17 but has stated its desire to get that down to at least 3.6 per cent before the rates are struck in June. ROSS GIBLIN/ FAIRFAX NZ Living wage advocates have congratulated the council for paying giving some of its staff a pay rise, but has urged it to do more. The forecast residential rates increase is 5.3 per cent before growth. Association spokeswoman Sue Watt said Mt Victoria residents were not happy with those projections, particularly when a record number of 192 council staff took home more than $100,000 in 2015. WIAL A proposal to extend Wellington Airport’s runway by 354 metres has been a hot topic during public hearings Read More …

REBLOG SURFBREAK PROTECTION SOCIETY: Lyall Bay surf breaks at “substantial risk” from runway extension plan

The Surfbreak Protection Society (SPS) is very concerned that Wellington International Airport Ltd is attempting to railroad through its runway extension by way of the Environment Court, seeing it has not yet yall Bay made convincing arguments through articulated scientific-based debate. In March, SPS questioned the sincerity of WIAL’s proposed mitigation of a swell focussing reef, while at the same time the airport company were seeking the deletion of policies that protect surf breaks, by way of WIAL’s submission to the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Proposed Natural Resources Plan (PNRP). WIAL have yet again demonstrated their statement of intent, in pursuing the deletion of protection for the region’s surf breaks, and in particular, Lyall Bay’s revered Corner surf break in the PNRP, by way of a further submission to the plan. In plain words, WIAL are telling surfers that the company is obligated to protect Lyall Bay’s surfing amenity “overall”, yet on the other hand, are aggressively attacking the very legal obligations for them to do so, by seeking these policy changes. SPS, along with the Wellington Boardriders Club and other concerned local surfers, have been consulting with WIAL since May last year. WIAL submitted to the PNRP on 25 Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE: LOCAL RESIDENTS LAUNCH MYTH-BUSTERS ON PROPOSED WELLINGTON RUNWAY EXTENSION

Local residents against the proposed Wellington Airport runway extension want the project’s backers to come clean on the proposal so voters can have their say in this year’s Local Government Elections. The Guardians of the Bays, which includes South Coast residents and recreational users as well as concerned residents from across the city, have produced a myth-busting leaflet, taking aim at the misinformation being spread about the project by the owners of Wellington International Airport Ltd (WIAL), private company Infratil and Wellington City Council (WCC). The leaflet gives Wellingtonians a chance to ask questions of their local councillors and mayoral hopefuls as part of the 2016 Local Government Election Campaign. “Wellingtonians need to have the chance to decide on the proposed extension based on facts not propaganda and misinformation. We want to cut through the confusion so Wellingtonians get all the facts before we commit any more valuable ratepayers’ money to this fanciful proposal,” says Dr Sea Rotmann, adding that WIAL made $108 million in revenue last year but Wellington City Council (which owns one-third of WIAL on behalf of ratepayers) received less than $12 million in dividends. “Wellington’s ratepayers are being asked to pay $150 million towards the runway Read More …