Choppers To Mangere
October 7, 2005
MEDIA RELEASE (For Immediate Release)
Choppers To Mangere
It would be laughable if it wasn’t so sad.
That’s the response from Mayor Bob Harvey when he learned today that a North Shore company is charging $365 to helicopter commuters across Auckland.
Increased traffic congestion has prompted Heletranz to start an air service to Auckland Airport. The 12 minute service costs $365 one-way.
“Because of the traffic it can take people longer to get the airport than it does to fly to Wellington. That’s just a joke,” Mayor Harvey says.
“Good on Heletranz for taking the initiative. But this just shows how appalling the traffic situation has become.”
Mr Harvey adds that the news gives even more weight to the argument for Whenuapai Airbase to also be used for commercial flights.
“There are half a million people (in Waitakere and North Shore Cities) who live within15km of Whenuapai, which is already a fully functioning airport,” he says.
“And every time they have to crawl in their cars or taxi to Mangere it just adds to the traffic problem.”
Waitakere City has not given up on its push for commercialisation of Whenuapai.
In 2002, when the government announced that the RNZAF would quit Whenuapai for Ohakea, the Council campaigned for the base to be reused as a commercial airport.
The government subsequently said that the move could take up to 10 years.
Now, to ensure that it can undertake long-term planning for the rapidly growing north-west of the City, Waitakere City Council will start work on a number of district plan changes for the land that the base currently occupies.
“Those planning changes will recognise the existing use of the airbase, and also the Council’s objective that it be reused for commercial aviation,” says Mayor Harvey. “Any alternative uses, other than those related to an airport, will have to stack up against the City’s long-term objectives.”