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All Voices Must Be Heard On Whenuapai

Media release
24 February 2004

ALL VOICES MUST BE HEARD ON WHENUAPAI

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says he will continue to take part in discussions on the future of Whenuapai air base because it is a regional issue and it is not for Waitakere City Council alone to decide on the matter.

"I will not be told to "butt out" because it is appropriate that all local authorities in the region be consulted and I represent Manukau City. By the same token, the voices of North Shore City Council and Auckland City Council and other local authorities must also be heard.

"Further, before any decision is made the Ministry of Defence has a responsibility to consult with all the councils in the region on the issue and I have already met with them to give Manukau City Council's views.

"There is point in being parochial in these matters. It is increasingly clear that the whole of the Auckland region will sink or swim as one single economic unit. Our futures are inter-linked. The problems and challenges we face must be addressed on a regional level and there must continue to be coordinated planning for the use of strategic assets.

"Just because an asset such as Whenuapai is located in one particular council's area does not mean other local authorities can be ignored when considering its future because they have a legitimate viewpoint which must be taken into consideration.

"It would be absurd for Manukau City for example to plan new bus or train services without consulting transport authorities in neighbouring cities because those services would have to be coordinated with services elsewhere.

"My position on Whenuapai is that it is not necessary to develop a second international airport there given that the existing airport in Mangere can handle passenger growth for the next 50 years. It is already a world class airport.

"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. Whenuapai should be land banked until a wider strategy can be worked out for its use in future."

Ends

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