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Airport At Whenuapai Will "Supercharge" North West

MEDIA RELEASE

COMMERCIAL AIRPORT AT WHENUAPAI WILL "SUPERCHARGE" NORTH WEST

Waitakere City Council says retaining Whenuapai Airport and developing it for commercial use, would "supercharge" development in the north west of the Auckland region, and reduce travelling times and delays for many air travellers.

In a brochure released today, the Council says there is no need to destroy an existing airport to create land for development, as Waitakere is already planning for significant areas of land for future commercial, industrial and residential use.

Without an airport, Whenuapai is just another large area of land that is outside its planned growth areas.

The New Zealand Defence Force is currently consulting on the future use of the Whenuapai airport site, including retaining it as an airport. Submissions close on January 16, 2004. Waitakere City Council believes developing a commercial airport option will create far more economic value for the region than using the land for some sort of real estate development.

The brochure released today outlines a long term vision for commercial and industrial development as part of the airport development proposal, with the airport also stimulating development in surrounding areas of the north west.

Using the existing airport assets in this way could more than replace the estimated annual $250 million economic loss to the region estimated to result from the Air Force leaving Whenuapai in five years.

About half the people in the Auckland region would find it more convenient to travel to and from Whenuapai than Mangere.

A new motorway linking the northern and north western motorways will pass close to the airport and there is potential to link with nearby rail and with future upper harbour ferry services.

Fast growing businesses in the north and west, including tourism and accommodation ventures as far north as Warkworth, would gain significant value from the availability of passenger and airfreight services close by, says the brochure.

It would underpin the Auckland region's growth strategy by upgrading infrastructure to meet future needs in the fastest growing area of the region, stimulating economic activity and bringing new services to the many businesses and tourist ventures in the west and north, and significant benefits to the region as a whole, says the brochure.

Waitakere City Council has entered into a commercial arrangement with listed New Zealand company Infratil for the development of Whenuapai airport.

Infratil has extensive airport experience and expertise and a long track record of working with New Zealand local authorities and community bodies. It is a major shareholder in Wellington and Glasgow Prestwick international airports.

Under the agreement with Waitakere City Council Infratil will fund the commercial development of the airport, and ratepayers will not be asked to contribute any capital for the project.

It is envisaged that Whenuapai airport could be a base for air services to New Zealand cities, the Pacific and the eastern states of Australia.

A copy of the brochure is attached and can be obtained from Waitakere City Council, or downloaded from its website.

www.waitakere.govt.nz

Issued 11 December 2003 on behalf of Waitakere City Council 09 836 8000

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