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Residents urge Govt to create airport at Whenuapai

North Shore, Rodney and Waitakere residents urge prompt Government action to create commercial airport at Whenuapai

Most people on the North Shore and in Waitakere City and Rodney District want commercial flights to begin from Whenuapai as soon as possible.

Nearly two thirds of those surveyed in March are in favour of the Government making a prompt decision to negotiate with Waitakere City Council and Infratil, so as to achieve commercial flights as soon as possible as military use of the airport winds down.

Of the 1200 people surveyed by TNS in a study commissioned by Infratil, 64% are in favour of prompt Government action, a further 12% would not mind either way, 22% are opposed, and 3% expressed no opinion.

There was a high level of concern over traffic congestion, accompanied by a belief that local bodies are not doing enough, quickly enough to resolve it. Three quarters of those interviewed believe Central Government should be investing more money in Auckland, and believe the Government should step in and make decisions on transport issues if local councils cannot quickly reach agreement.

"A majority of people in the North and West want commercial flights in and out of Whenuapai as soon as possible, and they want the Government to make the necessary decisions promptly," says Infratil spokesman Tim Brown.

Mr Brown said airlines also want a prompt decision on the Infratil/Waitakere City proposal for a commercial airport at Whenuapai, so they could have certainty about an Auckland base.

"Vested interests should not be allowed to destroy a development, which has so much to offer Auckland, by pushing for further delay."

"Much has been made of local resident concern about noise from commercial flights, but the survey shows only 5% of residents oppose a commercial airport at Whenuapai for this reason, and a third of these people would withdraw their opposition if the noise was not significantly greater than at present."

Mr Brown said every professional poll done to measure attitudes to potential uses for the airport land at Whenuapai showed that a commercial airport was strongly supported in the Auckland region. Kaipara District Council and business in the North and West were also strongly supportive.

Other findings from the survey include:-

* The main reasons for 59% supporting a commercial airport were that an airport at Whenuapai would be easier and quicker to get to than Mangere (33% of all respondents) and that congestion would be reduced (15%) of all respondents.

* The main reasons for 14% opposing an airport at Whenuapai was noise (5% of all respondents) and a belief that Auckland does not need another airport (3% of all respondents).

* Opposition based on noise is centred predominately on the area around the existing airport.

* Most residents of the three areas surveyed believe traffic congestion is a major problem which will get worse over the next five years and that local government is not doing enough, quickly enough, to resolve the problem.

* Better public transport, another harbour crossing, more roads and having employment and facilities closer to where people live all scored well for potential effectiveness in improving traffic flows.

* A majority of people were unhappy about travelling times to Mangere airport from their homes, particularly frequent fliers. Typical travel time to the airport was estimated to be 61 minutes on average.

A copy of the survey can be obtained from Infratil and Waitakere City Council's website.

© Scoop Media

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