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 …

RE-BLOG WELLINGTON SCOOP: Runway extension report: concerns on noise, environment, surfing, fishing

Link here. The Regional Council last week released a 165-page staff report analysing Wellington Airport’s application for permission to extend its runway. The report, on the airport’s resource consent application, confirms that of the 776 submissions received, 527 were against the runway extension, 227 were in support of it (either in full or in part), and there were 18 neutral submissions and four conditional. The airport is seeking permission for reclamation work to be carried out seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The proposed construction programme indicates that reclamation filling could take between 5 and 18 months depending on the source of material. The entire project will take up to four years. The report refers to 310 trucks per day taking loads from quarries to the reclamation site: Traffic emissions during construction will arise from trucks transporting fill material to the construction zones at the airport and construction vehicles at the airport construction site…The applicant considers that it is unlikely that there will be any measurable changes in vehicle related combustion emissions from 310 trucks per day…. [An expert] has advised that the covering of loads is “best practice and will satisfactorily mitigate potential fugitive dust over the Read More …

RE-BLOG SURFBREAK PROTECTION SOCIETY: “DUDE, WHERE’S MY SURF BREAK?”

By Michael Gunson WIAL’s grand plan for Lyall Bay’s surf breaks: The Surf break Protection Society (SPS) would like to think that its submission opposing Wellington International Airport Limited (WIAL)’s airport extension and artificial swell focus reef is the cause of the airport company’s decision to suspend and revise its consent application. The reality is probably that the society’s submission is only one of a number of high quality submissions that have led WIAL to suspend the process. After recent investigations and inquiries by SPS, WIAL have stated that they have no plans to increase the Moa Point Rd seawall, next to the Corner surf break, during the next 12 months. This has come as a bit of a surprise to Wellington surfers, as it was assumed these works since 2000 had been undertaken by the Wellington City Council, not the largely privatised WIAL. The works on the seawall are undoubtedly having an adverse effect on the Corner surf break, Wellington’s most popular surfing venue. These works coincide with WIAL seeking the deletion of the Corner surf break from the GWRC Natural Resources Plan (PNRP)’s schedule of regionally significant surf breaks. WIAL have been modifying the Moa Point Rd seawall 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 …

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 …