OPINION: Wellington Airport extension shouldn’t be allowed off the ground

By Dave Armstrong: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/98996698/Airport-extension-shouldn-t-be-allowed-off-the-ground?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=Twitter KEVIN STENT/STUFF There’s no money to build the runway extension at Wellington. OPINION: Last Sunday in Beijing, Wellington Airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a Chinese construction company and the China Express airline. Hallelujah! Wellington has the world’s biggest construction company to help extend its runway so millions of tourists can flood into Wellington. The parties will apparently work together on the extension, develop the airport area and market Wellington as a destination. Yet as Scoop website reminded us last week, our council signed a similar MOU with a different Chinese construction company in 2015. And remember the MOU that Celia Wade-Brown signed in China to build that lovely Chinese Garden that currently sits in Frank Kitts Park? Oops – what a civic embarrassment that has been. I’m sure there must be an old Chinese proverb about Wellington mayors who rashly sign MOUs ending up with gravel rash at election time. READ MORE * Wellington Airport lines up Chinese construction giant for runway extension * Airports group joins Supreme Court hearing to warn of risks from pilots’ safety challenge * Wellington Airport claims not all planes need to be able to land on longer runway But there’s just Read More …

NEWS: Dave Armstrong: Ahem, don’t mention the … runway extension

Original article here. OPINION:  Last week, the umpteenth repeat of the famous Fawlty Towers ”Germans” episode was playing on my TV. Despite having seen it countless times, I had to stop and watch a hilariously concussed, goose-stepping John Cleese say “don’t mention the war” in front of tearful Germans. This reminded me of our present Wellington City Council, where the rule seems to be “don’t mention the airport runway extension”. The issue was a major one last term. Never mind that extending the runway would greatly increase greenhouse emissions, our Green mayor got right behind it. And despite the airport extension arguably being corporate welfare, the Labour deputy mayor, and now our present mayor, strongly supported it, too. Council chief executive Kevin Lavery was also a big fan, naming the runway extension in early 2016 – along with the Film Museum and Convention Centre, which also seems to be in a state of limbo – as an area in which he wanted to make “real progress”. Lavery and mayor Justin Lester were also involved in brokering the “Capital Express” route deal, which saw Singapore Airlines fly from Singapore to Canberra to Wellington, and receive a nice council subsidy in the process. Surely if 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 …

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 – Moa Point residents’ group to oppose runway extension – “so many concerns”

Originally published on Scoop. News from Hue tē Taka Hue tē Taka Incorporated Society which represents the most directly and severely affected residents from Moa Point, who are Wellington Airport’s neighbours, has today announced it will be opposing the Airport’s application for resource consent to extend the runway in the Environment Court next year. Karl Weber of Hue tē Taka said that they are urging other community groups, local businesses and individuals to do the same. “We have filed our form under section 274 stating that we would like to appear in the Environment Court and speak to the submission we made on the application in August. “Despite almost 70% of submissions made on the application being in opposition, the local community are not getting any support from local government. So, it is important that everyone who wants to appear in Court to oppose the application also files an s274 form before the deadline on Friday. “Sadly it falls to the community to put pressure on the Airport over the many concerns we have about the proposed runway extension. We hope that many people feel they would like to follow us in putting our own resources into the Environment Court 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 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 …

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 …

MEDIA RELEASE: No plan B leaves Wellington ratepayers exposed over airport extension proposal.

“Wellington City Council has no Plan B to protect Wellington’s ratepayers if the Wellington Airport Extension doesn’t deliver,” according to business, recreational, community and environmental groups who are calling for more rigour around the proposal. The Guardians of the Bays, a citizen-led umbrella organisation representing a growing number of groups of businesses and individuals who are concerned the runway extension will not deliver the benefits being promised by Wellington International Airport Limited and some City Councillors. Co-chairs Dr Sea Rotmann and Richard Randerson said the airport is being presented to the public as Wellington’s main economic growth option. “We are all keen on a progressive and successful Wellington. But the numbers being put up for this proposal simply don’t stack up. “The Council has promised $90 million of ratepayer money, on top of $3 million already handed over to the airport, for a runway extension that has no business case. The Airport has refused to put its numbers under the scrutiny of the Government’s own Better Business Case process, which is required for getting Central Government funding.” “Economically, the runway extension has the potential to lump Wellington ratepayers with a wasteful and unnecessary White Elephant requiring significant ratepayer subsidies and 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 …