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Whenuapai's an overdue monopoly-buster, says Wood

September 1, 2005

Whenuapai's an overdue monopoly-buster, says Wood

North Shore City Mayor George Wood says the Auckland airport company would not still be cashing in on its monopolist position if the Government had given the green light to a civilian-military airport at Whenuapai.

Auckland International Airport recently reported a surge in profits, with car parking revenue alone up by a staggering 25 per cent.

"It's no wonder my mayoral counterpart from Manukau, Sir Barry Curtis, says the airport's a licence to print money," says Mr Wood, a supporter of the Waitakere City-championed Whenuapai air base upgrade.

"I can well understand Barry's comments as his council is a significant shareholder in Auckland Airport, but I was also interested to hear (outgoing) Air New Zealand boss Ralph Norris criticise both Auckland and Wellington airports over their monopolist profit margins."

"Airports in New Zealand have some of the biggest profit margins in the industry," said Mr Norris, who left his post this week to head the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. He called for the Government to establish a regulatory regime to bring New Zealand airport charges in line with overseas.

George Wood is calling on the current government to take another look at the Whenuapai proposal, which he calls an "overdue monopoly-buster".

"It's about time we had some competition in the airport market," says the third-term mayor.

He also praised mayoral colleague Bob Harvey and his Waitakere City Council for its move to redesignate the 300-hectare airbase land as an airport.

Waitakere City Council will start work on a number of district plan changes for the land that the base currently occupies. This is to ensure that it can undertake long-term planning for the rapidly growing north-west of the region. (www.waitakere.govt.nz)

George Wood says Whenuapai can play an important role in the development of greater Auckland - and the north-west in particular - as part of a more strategic and integrated transport solution for the region.

"Mangere does play a key role, but we have seen the positive effect of attracting additional airlines in cities overseas.

"It would also help to build some healthy competitive pressure between the airport providers," he says.


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