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Airport plans need to consider long-term future

7 April 2005

Airport plans need to consider long-term future

The Greens are opposed to the extension and elevation to international status of Rotorua Airport, Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons confirmed today.

"We agree with the Government that this airport plan should not proceed, though our reasons may be somewhat different," said Ms Fitzsimons, the Greens' Transport Spokesperson.

"From the Greens' perspective, any commercial case to be made by the Rotorua District Council for international flights into Rotorua, trans-Tasman or otherwise, will have to deal with more than just the costs of bio-security and border security.

"As we face the imminent depletion and skyrocketing prices of the world's oil supplies, now is not the time to be spending many millions of dollars on more airports. Airlines have just added additional fuel premiums to their prices, and this will not be a temporary phenomenon.

"Rotorua needs to plan for a future tourist industry which is less dependent on air travel if it is to protect its economy against the arrival of Peak Oil.

"The huge investment in an airport takes many years to recover its costs. It's unlikely this airport extension will recover its costs before the increasing oil prices start reducing the number of international flights."

Green candidate for Rotorua Amanda Reid said, "The local environmental impact of extending Rotorua Airport will include unacceptable noise pollution for residents on the flight path, further encroachment on Maori land without resolution of existing grievances and the destruction of a unique eco-system of wet lands and Kahikatea trees."

Jeanette Fitzsimons will be meeting with the Mayor of Rotorua on Monday, 11 April to exchange views on the current proposals and to offer support wherever possible for Rotorua's future development.


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