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 …

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 …

NEWS: CAA must review safety areas at Wellington Airport, Court of Appeal rules

HAMISH RUTHERFORD Last updated 13:05, February 28 2017 SUPPLIED An aerial map of Wellington Airport showing where the proposed runway extension would be built to the south. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has to revisit a decision over whether a longer runway safety area is needed if Wellington Airport extends its runway, a court has ruled. In a decision released on Tuesday the Court of Appeal has agreed with the NZ Airlines Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) that the CAA must consider if longer runway safety areas (RESA) can feasibly be constructed, and also consider the use of arresting systems if appropriate. The Court of Appeal found that in ruling that Wellington’s existing 90 metre safety area as compliant and appropriate for Wellington Airport’s proposed extension, the director of the CAA “made material errors in law”. unknown Wellington Airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said it was too early to say what impact the Court of Appeal ruling would have on the proposed runway extension. Under international aviation rules, regulators must ensure that airports operate with RESAs of at least 90m, and if “practicable” of at least 240m. READ MORE: * Wellington Airport puts resource consent plans for runway extension on hold * Wellington Airport asking councils to restart runway extension Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE: RATEPAYERS GROUP WELCOME MAYOR’S REVIEW OF CITY’S SPENDING

Residents and ratepayers group Guardians of the Bays has welcomed indications from Wellington Mayor Justin Lester that the proposed $300+ million Wellington Airport runway extension is not a priority for the City Council’s 2017-18 spending. Guardians of the Bays Co-Chair Dr Sea Rotmann said the group was pleased to see Lester making moves to better prioritise the spending of ratepayers’ money. “The fact that the Mayor has commissioned a review and wants to cut spending by $8 million is good news for Wellington ratepayers, but at the same time there are a lot of projects demanding Council support and we still need a firm list of priorities.

NEWS – Newshub: New Wellington reservoir must be priority after quake – Councillor

Link to original post here. Tuesday 22 Nov 2016 9:18 p.m. By Chris Holden A new reservoir designed to prevent Wellington being cut off from water for up to 100 days following an earthquake is being labelled an absolute priority by a Wellington City councillor. In an unlikely move, Green Party Councillor Iona Pannett, who chairs the Wellington City Council’s City Strategy Committee, has revealed she is open to considering a public-private partnership to construct the $25 million, 35 million litre reservoir above the Prince of Wales park in central Wellington. Without the reservoir, Wellingtonians could face up to a 100-day wait to get their water back up and running after a major quake, and Ms Pannett says after last Monday’s 7.8 tremor it must be a priority now. Ms Pannett’s preference is that the funding comes from central Government but she is open to a public-private partnership. “Discussions with central Government must begin immediately,” Ms Pannett says. “The Wellington Council simply doesn’t have the funding, and will now need to look to other options.” Documents provided by Wellington Water to Wellington City councillors in 2012 estimate getting water reconnected following a break in the bulk supply lines could take Read More …

SCOOP – Wellington Airport workers kept “in the dark”

Originally posted on Scoop Press Release – Public Service Association Wellington Airport managers must front up to serious questions over its response to Monday mornings earthquake – and how it communicated with other agencies, the PSA says.Wellington Airport workers kept “in the dark” during quake aftermath Wellington Airport managers must front up to serious questions over its response to Monday morning’s earthquake – and how it communicated with other agencies, the PSA says. PSA National Secretary Glenn Barclay says around a dozen staff from the Ministry of Primary Industries plus additional Customs and other workers were at the airport when the quake hit. “We have spoken to our members at Wellington airport and they are gravely concerned at what happened on Monday,” Mr Barclay says. “Our members have told us they are not well briefed on emergency procedures or evacuation plans. “This is a serious concern, especially considering Wellington Airport sits just 2 kilometres from a fault line.” Virgin’s flight VA108 from Brisbane landed 20 minutes after the first quake and MPI and Customs staff processed passengers and cargo with little information about their own safety. Mr Barclay says MPI staff stayed on duty after the tsunami warning was issued, 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 WELLINGTON SCOOP: 60 trucks an hour: sleep disturbance and health issues during runway construction

by Lindsay Shelton, October 11, 2016. Link here. A report from the Wellington City Council identifies a “worst case scenario” if only trucks are used to carry the rocks needed to build a longer runway at Wellington Airport. The report, prepared by the council for the airport’s resource consent application, says that 252 people sent submissions that were concerned about traffic during the four year construction period, and 202 people were concerned about noise. The council report states: The Project has the potential to generate adverse noise effects given the scale of works proposed, the duration of the construction project, and the proposed night-time construction works. In addition, the Project proposes road haulage of fill during off-peak periods (9.30am-2.30pm, and 10pm-6.00am) during weekdays, which will generate traffic noise effects on properties along the haulage route. The applicant has provided a Construction Noise Assessment … which assesses the noise effects associated with constructing the runway extension, and the land-based transportation of construction materials (including fill) to the site. The report also identifies measures to mitigate such noise. A noise expert has reviewed the airport’s proposal and has found that The Project includes a construction duration of 48 months (or greater), and Read More …

RE-BLOG WEREWOLF: SAFE LANDINGS

Wellington Airport’s runway extension faces another legal challenge, on safety grounds by Gordon Campbell, October 19, 2016. Link here. If the $300 million runway addition planned for Wellington Airport proceeds, it will have a major impact on the marine environment at both ends of the 355 metre extension, and particularly so at the Cook Strait end. Besides the permanent effect on tidal patterns along the south coast, people living adjacent to the airport will be affected by the noise, dust and truck movements during the construction phase of the project. A few weeks ago, these and other aspects of the runway extension were canvassed within Wellington Regional Council reports that were released right on the eve of the recent local body elections. The suggested steps to mitigate the effects – around Moa Point for instance – will inevitably add to the cost of the runway extension, although by how much will depend on what mitigation steps are eventually deemed to be essential by the Environment Court, which will rule on the environmental consent application in early 2017. Wellington Airport is two thirds owned by the NZX listed company Infratil, and the remaining third is owned by Wellington City Council. Infratil Read More …