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Green light for corporatisation of Airport

10 October 2006

Green light for corporatisation of Hawkes Bay Airport

Hawkes Bay Airport can now be corporatised, if the local authorities want that to occur, so that it can take full advantage of future development opportunities, Finance Minister Michael Cullen announced today.

The airport is the first to proceed to possible corporatisation following yesterday's announcement by Transport Minister Annette King on the future of joint venture airports.

"As a local resident who uses the airport on a weekly basis, I well know the value of the airport as vital link for a growing province to the rest of New Zealand.

Corporatisation means a new legal entity will be created to own and manage the airport. It will remain in public hands, being jointly owned by the Napier and Hastings councils and the Crown with a 50 per cent stake each.

"The corporate model will ensure the new airport company can be a more efficient operator with a clear governance structure and so one that is readily able to borrow for future investment.

"Airports play critical roles in the development of regions and this change will ensure Hawkes Bay's export, tourism and other sectors will continue to be well served," said Dr Cullen.

Officials will now negotiate an agreement with the local authorities and also consult with local iwi to ensure Treaty of Waitangi rights are protected. The aim is to have the new company in place next year.

"I would like to thank my colleagues, local list MPs Russell Fairbrother and Rick Barker, for their help in ensuring a brighter future for a vital regional asset," said Dr Cullen.

ENDS

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