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Auckland Airport Way Off Beam

Friday 26th November 2004

Auckland Airport Way Off Beam

Waitakere City Council’s Chief Executive, Harry O’Rourke, is surprised by Auckland International Airport’s comments reported in the New Zealand Herald on Thursday, 25th November.

Auckland Airport’s Chief Executive, Don Huse, believes that Waitakere City is trying to stymie plans for the second runway by lodging submissions under the Resource Consent process. Auckland Airport along with major client Air New Zealand has strongly opposed Waitakere City’s proposals for a second airport at Whenuapai.

However Mr O’Rourke said that has nothing to do with Mangere’s Resource Consent process. “Our submission is clearly in support of a second runway. We support economic development and the provision of major infrastructure,” he says. “What we have done though is raise concerns about environmental effects on the Manukau Harbour and potential major commercial development, which does not fit with Auckland’s Regional Growth Strategy.”

“We haven’t in the past raised any issues about Auckland Airport’s anti-competitive campaign against Whenuapai, but when we ask a few simple questions about their development plans, they squeal like babies.”

Mr O’Rourke adds that Mangere airport is already a significant contributor to the region’s multi billion dollar transport problems. “I am sure every commuter in Auckland wants to know that those problems won’t be made worse by more people flowing south to Mangere”.

Mr O’Rourke also notes that at its annual meeting in Auckland this week, even AIAL’s own shareholders questioned the campaign against Whenuapai, which has so far cost the company more than $2 million. “The reason Auckland Airport is so vehemently against Whenuapai is they fear it will succeed. Isn’t that a convincing reason that Whenuapai should go ahead in the Region’s interests?”

“Once again, we are not against the second runway proposal, but AIAL shouldn’t think that they can waltz through the Resource Consent process without some very valid questions being asked.”

ENDS

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