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Submission on Proposed Plan Change 22

Submission on Proposed Plan Change 22

Citizens Against Privatisation oppose any commercial airport at Whenuapai.

It is ludicrous to propose a second commercial airport for such a small population relative to, say, London. Auckland Region has approx 1.3 million compared to 7.2 million in Greater London. (#1 and #2 below). Any future provision of a second commercial airport should be based on Ak International Airport having reached its capacity for flight movements - not any other consideration.

Improved Public Transport is what is needed - not a profit-driven dream to exploit deplorable deficiencies. Improvements would bring efficient cross-city traffic flow, and better services to particular destinations, including Ak International Airport. That is what the people know so well, and successive generations of politicians talk about so much. Road congestion makes it just as difficult for a traveller to reach west Auckland from Tuakau, as someone from Kaukapakapa to reach Mangere. The bottle-neck is in urban Auckland, not further CAP maintains that Whenuapai is not a suitable site for a second commercial airport in terms of urban planning. Whilst Mangere is well positioned with no adjoining residential area, and sea on two borders, Whenuapai is a land-locked Air Force base. A commercial airport would encourage adjacent "urban sprawl". Again, the public knows so well, and successive generations of politicians so eloquently bang on, about Auckland's "development" being a problem. In large part determined by market vagaries, CAP says.

Since Waitakere City has encouraged such expansion in past efforts to urge approval for the likes of Sunderland College to establish a campus in a rural setting near Whenuapai, CAP considers Whenuapai and surrounding territory is in danger of becoming a built up dormitory residential area. Should a "Greater Auckland Council" replace the ARC, as is currently mooted, this superfluous airport will be even harder for the public to oppose.

With the above in mind, CAP argues that a second commercial airport will compromise safety of life and property in the event of a major aviation accident. Environmental degradation will increase - pollution, noise, the loss of a semi-rural green setting, and increased local commercial and private road traffic.

CAP suggests that a shared NZ Air Force/commercial airport could dversely affect national security and Defence operations on the one hand, and introduce an additional dimension of risk for civilian aircraft on the other.

CAP argues this planned commercial airport is an undemocratic and questionable proposition. We are not aware of any wide publicity, public consultation or mandate before North Shore, Rodney and Waitakere municipalities selected Infratil as its "partner". #3
Nor, before the three local bodies formed a company to develop civil operations at Whenuapai". #4

This consortium plans a profitable niche enterprise - not a public service in the traditional sense.

Since this airport would lack intrinsic necessity and have negative social impacts, there is a strong risk of financial failure in the competitive marketplace should their rivals, Ak International Airport, get the better of them. This element is magnified because Whenuapai is planned to be a secondary airport, pitched at smaller flight operators. Not only will that client base be vulnerable to raiding offers, those smaller flight operators can be taken over by larger companies (remember Ansett NZ). Either scenario could result in Whenuapai Airport becoming a wingless, white elephant.

Further, there are strong indicators of some of the parties being unreliable or unethical.

Shortly after a prominent local body politician unveiled and persistently promoted/marketed this grandiose scheme several years ago, Infratil became involved in planning behind the scenes.

Now they are on-board with a 70% stake (and monopoly decision making) in the North West Airport Ltd "joint venture". #4 This is tantamount to a privatised enterprise before it even starts. Aside of dealings in many other erstwhile publicly-owned services, Infratil owns Wellington Airport and acquired Stagecoachabout two years ago.

Last month Wellington Regional Council warned Stagecoach/Infratil that
its route disruptions and poor service would no longer be tolerated. #5

Last month Stagecoach/Infratil threatened to withdraw its Auckland
services in response to any regulated timetable/ticketing integration. #6

Last month, Fullers Ferries - another Infratil-owned company - drew heavy flac for leaving 120 passengers stranded overnight at Waiheke. #6

North Shore City Council was accused last year of "virtually holding Waitakere to ransom" over the privatisation of Techscape Ltd to German corporation Bilfinger Berger. #7

€ SUMMARY
Auckland International Airport efficiently caters for domestic and overseas air traffic and has nowhere near reached its capacity. There is no need for a second commercial airport and for the above reasons Citizens Against Privatisation do/would oppose any future second commercial airport to be located at Whenuapai.

Therefore, we strongly oppose Proposed Plan Change 22.

--------------------

References:
#1 http://www.urbanaudit.org/help.aspx
#2 www.arc.govt.nz/library/q87645_2.pdf
#3 Western Leader, 2 March 2007
#4 NZ Herald 27 October 2006
#5 16 February 2007 - http://www.wellington.gen.nz/tag/government
#6 Sunday Star Times 11 February 2007
#7 Waitakere City Council meeting, on 10 August 2006.
Before the public was excluded from the meeting that evening, speakers for Techscape workers made a last-ditch entreaty to try and stop the privatisation. Clr Janet Clews asked one of them if he knew that North Shore council was "virtually holding Waitakere to ransom" over the matter. No councillor rebutted her statement.

Ends

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