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Mayor Responds To Whenuapai Announcement

Mayor Responds To Whenuapai Announcement

North Shore City Mayor Andrew Williams has spelt out the environmental dangers that may face residents exposed to any increased use of Whenuapai as a commercial airport.

This follows an announcement from the NZ Defence force that Ohakea airport near Palmerston North is to be upgraded, and a subsequent announcement from Waitakere City Mayor Bob Harvey that the announcement opens the door to a possible development of a Whenuapai commercial airport.

Mayor Williams says that while Mayor Bob Harvey may see the announcement as a wonderful Christmas present for Waitakere City, North Shore may see it differently as more than 80 per cent of the negative impacts from any commercial airport at Whenuapai will be on North Shore residents.

“We do however welcome the Minister of Defence, Hon Phil Goff's comments that they will be seeking full dialogue with local authorities in 2008. I will certainly be drawing his attention to the more than 80 chemicals contained in aviation gas which could impact on the North Shore region. We will also be drawing to his attention the 37 indications of health symptoms that can occur from prolonged exposure to these chemicals including known carcinogens contained in the aircraft exhaust emissions,” says Mayor Williams.

“The Minister will also be advised of the proven negative effects on children's health and development - and consequently on the full realisation of their learning potential - which will result from aircraft travelling overhead. More than eight schools, including the largest college in New Zealand - Rangitoto - as well as many other top schools and Massey University could be directly affected in this manner.

The worldwide trend is to move airports further away from urban environments to alleviate these adverse effects, certainly not to bring airports closer in to higher density urban areas, says Mayor Williams.

“I will be putting my efforts in 2008 into ensuring that all parties are fully aware of these and other issues and I hope that the Mayor of Waitakere and in fact the entire Waitakere Council will give further consideration to something they perceive as a Christmas gift, but which is at total odds to the maintenance of the high quality of living on the North Shore.

“The North Shore, in the most recent Quality of Life Report, was ranked highest out of the 12 major cities in New Zealand - and it is certainly not going to allow standards on the North Shore to be undermined by environmental, health and economic impacts such as those inherent in Waitakere Council's proposal.

“Having said that, however, I acknowledge that retaining the Air Force at Whenuapai is in the best of both national and regional interests but its presence is negligible compared to a commercial airport operating at all hours of the day and night,” he says.


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