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Come Clean WAAG!!

April 30, 2007

Come Clean WAAG!!

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey has called for the group opposed to a second airport at Whenuapai to open its books.

It has been revealed that the Whenuapai Airport action Group (WAAG) secretly received $19,000 as well as an undisclosed amount of research and other material from Auckland International Airport.

Mayor Harvey has criticised the Airport Company for a “complete lack of business ethics” in funding the campaign.

But since the revelations- first made in the North Shore Times- the mayor says he has been told that other self interest groups may have also funded WAAG.

“I have no problem at all with a genuine community group opposing this project. That’s democracy. But secret funding by big business who are just trying to protect their monopoly isn’t on.”

“WAAG has defended receiving this sort of funding- well, if they’ve got nothing to be ashamed of they should come clean and open their (financial) books. Let everyone know whether they are a genuine group with genuine community concerns or whether they are just puppets of big business.”

“As far as we are aware $19,000 might jut be the tip of this scandalous ice-berg.”

Mayor Harvey has written to the board of Auckland International Airport (letter attached) seeking reassurance that its members did not know about the “underhanded” campaign.

And, he says, his Council and newly formed NorthWest Airport Company (a consortium of Waitakere, North Shore and Rodney councils and listed infrastructure company Infratil) is now taking legal advice and considering a complaint to the Commerce Commission.

“AIAL has clearly been working in an anti-competitive way.”

He rejects comments by the company that the funding was simply an effort to promote debate around the project. “If that was the case why didn’t the airport have their name on advertising and so on? They only came clean when the media found them out. And needless to say their generosity didn’t extend to supporting the cause of thousands of people who were opposed to the building of a second runway at Mangere!”

“AIAL knows there is strong support for commercial flights at Whenuapai from the general public and business in Rodney, North Shore and Waitakere. Perhaps that is why they prefer campaigning in this underground manner.”


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