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New Airport At Whenuapai Not Needed

Media release 19 February 2004

NEW AIRPORT AT WHENUAPAI NOT NEEDED

The Strategic Development committee of Manukau City Council last night endorsed the viewpoint that a second commercial airport is not needed and should not be supported. The matter will go before the full Council later in the month.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says it is not necessary to develop a second international airport at Whenuapai given that the existing airport in Mangere has the capability to handle growth for the next 50 years.

A second runway at Mangere has already been approved and planning is well underway. It will take pressure off the current runway and will handle primarily smaller planes.

Sir Barry says, "A new airport at Whenuapai would be an expensive luxury and I don't see the need for it because as a region we have much more important uses for our limited public funding, such as improving storm water treatment facilities and upgrading transport. The public are crying out for better public transport and action to unblock our congested motorways, not another airport.

"It could also create logistical nightmares for the flying public as there would be many occasions when, in transferring from different flights, passengers would have to travel from one airport to the other.

"Developing Whenuapai would also displace economic value from other airports and aerodromes already in existence.

"It could result in significant public resources being diverted from other projects and the loss of future land development opportunities in Waitakere, Rodney and North Shore.

"Whenuapai is outside the established metropolitan urban limits and should be kept undeveloped and in public hands until a wider strategy can be worked out for its use in future.

"I accept that Manukau City Council has an interest in the future growth of Auckland International Airport, as a shareholder. But, putting that to one side, my position on this issue reflects my belief that there are more reasons to not develop Whenuapai than to develop it."

ENDS

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