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Whenuapai Airport Proposal Good News

Enterprise North Shore

Media Release: Whenuapai Airport Proposal Good News for North Shore Economy
Wednesday, 1 Nov 2006

The proposal for a second commercial airport at Whenuapai is good news for the North Shore economy according to the Chairman of Enterprise North Shore.

“A commercial airport working alongside the military operation at Whenuapai would benefit the entire north west region,” says Ian Watson. “Our organisation is all about promoting economic growth for our city and we applaud North Shore City Councillors for their foresight and commitment to the big picture.”

Rodney District Council unanimously supported a proposal to establish the North West Airport Company with Infratil last week, hot on the heels of support from councillors at both North Shore City and Waitakere City Councils. The company has been established to progress the proposal for a commercial airport facility alongside defence operations at Whenuapai as soon as possible.

Mr Watson says the establishment of a joint company is an excellent example of local authority cooperation and commercial confidence.

“As an entrepreneurial body we’re pleased to see the North Shore City Council throwing its considerable weight and influence behind what is essentially a visionary move, and follows strong support for the concept expressed by the business community of the North Shore at a business growth seminar held in Takapuna. Our councillors are walking the talk and we’re right behind them.”

“An independent BERL report published two years ago indicates that the development of a commercial airport at Whenuapai could contribute an estimated $57m annually to the northern economy and employ 760 full time equivalent jobs.

“The report also comments on the tendency for inbound tourists to Mangere to head south, whereas flying in to Whenuapai offers the potential for an additional 28,000 inbound tourists to explore areas north of Auckland – another business opportunity for the North Shore.

“Airports are major generators of economic growth from which economic development radiates. You only have to look at how the business district around Auckland International Airport has flourished to get some idea of the enormous benefits a commercial airport on our back doorstep would bring to the North Shore economy.”

It is envisaged that Whenuapai could service major New Zealand cities, the Pacific Islands and the eastern states of Australia.

Mr Watson says significant growth projected to occur in the North and West of Auckland will highlight the need for additional transport options, including an airport.

“Our roads are packed and the new infrastructure we’re building will only just keep pace with our increasing population. Our demand for more efficient air travel and air freight is increasing. Our people and our businesses are closer to Whenuapai than Mangere and we’ll be able to get to Whenuapai from the North Shore even faster once Upper Harbour Drive and bridge developments are finished.

“A commercial airport at Whenuapai makes total sense, especially as it can be achieved by using an existing piece of infrastructure and using private capital for development.”

Mr Watson said he applauded North Shore City, Rodney District and Waitakere City Council for working with Infratil, a New Zealand owned company, which has substantial airport interests in NZ, Australia, UK and other international centres.

“North Shore City Councillors should be congratulated for putting a vital and positive stake in the ground on this very important economic and strategic issue and the North Shore will benefit by being able to appoint a director to the company and be right up with the play,” he said. “We look forward to working alongside the Council and the new company on behalf of our business members.”


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