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Whenuapai ''Sweetheart Deals'' Are A Smokescreen

Harvey Says Talk Of Whenuapai ''Sweetheart Deals'' Are A Smokescreen

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey says critics alleging any “sweetheart deals” at any new commercial airport developed at Whenuapai are nonsense, and they should butt out and allow the Government’s processes to take their course.

"There are no ‘sweetheart deals’ between us and Pacific Blue, and no ‘sweetheart deals’ between us and the Government," said Mr Harvey.

"Certainly there is now widespread support for the concept of a commercial airport at Whenuapai, but critics are getting way ahead of themselves by alleging “sweetheart deals” might be done.

“We have consistently and publicly stated that any future airport operator, or any future Whenuapai airport land owner, should expect to pay a fair price. We have consistently and publicly said that the airport option is the one that will produce the greatest economic value both for Auckland and for the Government, and is the only option to mitigate the over $200 million loss to the economy of Waitakere City.

"Commercially interested parties want to sabotage Whenuapai as a good idea for New Zealand by pecking it to death, but there’s a point in every project like this where you stand up and say – ‘Butt out. The national and regional good should prevail’, there will be a fair process, and there will be fair value.”

“Now that the Auckland region has demonstrated that the commercial airport option is the one that fits the Crown’s own criteria best, central government can make a clear decision and then move to address its value along with all other issues. Government process can deliver an outcome which includes Government receiving a fair value for the airport land if they approve the airport option -- an option which would enable commercial flights to be developed at the same time as Air Force operations are winding down..

“Talk of sweetheart deals, in fact any deals at all, is premature.”

“What we are looking for is a prompt decision out of Government on the principle of the commercial airport, and then to move ahead to address the land value and all of the other issues which need to be resolved before commercial flights can begin.”


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