RE-BLOG STRATHMORE PARK: Wellington Airport Extension – More shocking facts emerge


Posted some weeks back this is the submission by the Guardian’s of the Bay on the so-called Airport Extension, or otherwise known out this way as the White Elephant Project. What is interesting are the take outs from the submission. We’ve summarised them so you don’t have to read the entire thing though we suggest you do.

We’d suggest the authors have more skill and experience than the authors of the “reports” so far that have been anything but convincing in their argument to put our rates up and provide corporate welfare for a company that is not only helping contribute to emissions (Z Energy) but also has several hundred million sitting about.

Now, some of these are my notes mixed in with GotB’s notes. So that you know.

The original submission is here.

Things you didn’t know about the Wellington Airport Extension

There is still no way central government is going to pay because the Council hasn’t followed the Treasury Guidelines to apply for funding.

Despite calls for Consultation, the WCC not only has failed to do so, but it also appears that they have already made up their mind. Even Green councilors, Free, and Lee, have not made clear their stance.

When Dr. Rotmann went to speak [on the airport extension], she had the 2015 WIAL Annual Report figures open on her phone. In response to Andy Foster’s claim that the Council was getting its fair share of dividends from the airport, here are the actual numbers: WIAL made $108m in profit; has $842m in assets; $438m in equity and the Council got a measly $12m in dividends. (The WCC owns a third of the WIAL.)

Councillors have paid 50% of ratepayer money towards the airport’s resource consent reports and the Region said it would put up half of the cost of the runway extension ($150m – $90m by WCC and $60m by the other Councils, none of whom have put any money into it aside in their long-term plans, however). That is despite the (widely discredited) cost-benefit analysis by Sapere claiming that only 1/3 of the benefits would actually stay in the Region.

Most shocking, Councillors have not read the millions of dollars of reports they had commissioned. “She then asked the very pertinent question that all Councillors who had read the 27 airport reports should raise their hands. Unsurprisingly, not one hand went up.”

Two of the concerns have been a) the adverse southern end weather and its effect on the extension and b) whether they sea floor there can handle the millions of tonnes of fill. We still don’t know. “Insufficient data collection; the inability (due to ‘adverse Cook Strait conditions’) to complete even one of the seismic boreholes that needed to be undertaken to establish that the geomorphology in Lyall Bay was capable of taking the 3 million tonnes of rubble safely.”

In other words, researchers couldn’t answer that question because the conditions wouldn’t allow it.

Dr Rotmann finishes with:

So please, dear Councillors: Stop the corporate handouts (including throwing almost $10m of ratepayer money from a non-transparent slush fund at the world’s third largest airline with a Singapore head quarter) and stop calling opponents asking for transparent processes and proper facts and figures as being “Anti-Wellington” in the media. This is unbecoming of a Councillor’s job – it is hard enough to fight the spin and willful obfuscation of facts when it is coming from a billion dollar multinational. But it is an outrage when community groups looking out for the ratepayers’ interests get treated so unfairly by their elected officials. You can do better, City Council(lors)!

Unfortunately, it is my opinion that the Councillors cannot do better. We see an escalating tactic by the WCC now moving from calling opponents names such as “anti-Wellington” to accusing concerned residents of running a smear campaign.

Celia had gone on record yesterday with the opinion that public criticism of the allocation of funding from the $9.3 million Economic Initiatives Development Fund [WEID] ‘was being driven by “some people” who were simply out to smear the Council’. – Source