Survey Shows Most Support Whenuapai Airport
19th December 2007
Survey Shows Most On North Shore Support Whenuapai Airport
Claims by some North Shore City councillors that they have a mandate to oppose the development of commercial air services at Whenuapai are refuted by market research conducted since the local body elections.
The research, carried out by professional pollsters tns, measured the opinions of a random sample of 1100 North Shore residents. The survey was conducted on behalf of the Waitakere and Rodney Councils who form part of the North West Auckland Airport company (along with North Shore City Council and private investor Infratil Ltd).
The survey found that;-
66% of North Shore residents think the concept of a small regional airport at Whenuapai is worth exploring further, so that the benefits and drawbacks can be assessed before a decision is made.
68% of North Shore residents believe the Council should remain a shareholder of North West Auckland Airport Ltd while the concept of commercial flights at Whenuapai is evaluated.
73% support Waitakere City Council’s proposed plan change to preserve Whenuapai as an airfield.
The poll has a margin of error of 3%.
Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey says claims by new North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams that the Council has a mandate to withdraw support for the airport and to withdraw as a shareholder in North West Auckland Airport Ltd are clearly wrong.
“Two thirds of eligible voters on the North Shore did not cast a vote. Now they have spoken.
“If North Shore City truly wants to act in accordance with its residents’ wishes it will remain actively involved in the airport company and participate in the continuing evaluation of a concept which has the potential to offer many benefits to the North West of the Auckland region.”
Mr Harvey said it seemed that a pressure group opposed to commercial flights at Whenuapai had motivated some voters to oppose the concept by distributing inaccurate and alarmist information about flight paths and noise levels.
In a separate poll (also with a margin of error of 3%), tns measured the views of a random sample of a further 554 North Shore residents who had voted in the local body elections.
When the airport was described as a small regional airport with similar flight paths and noise levels as at present, more than half those who voted were in support of Whenuapai (with 54% supporting the concept, 36% opposed and 10% undecided).
The poll also showed that North Shore voters were motivated by issues other than Whenuapai. Rates, transport and congestion, and a general desire for change all figured prominently.
“No doubt some voters were confused about where Mr Williams stood on the issue, as he had previously championed a commercial airport at Whenuapai,” said Mr Harvey.
“The research shows majority support on the North Shore for commercial flights at Whenuapai, just as they have in every professional poll since 2003.There is no evidence that this support has reversed, despite a vigorous and often misleading opposition campaign, and North Shore City Council certainly cannot claim it has a mandate to withdraw from the project.”
“Successive business seminars in the North West have also demonstrated strong support for commercial flights at Whenuapai, recognising the many benefits it would bring to this fast growing part of the Auckland region,” said Mr Harvey. “In fact I am yet to meet anyone from a business on the North Shore who does not favour civil use at Whenuapai. Everyone recognizes that with planes come jobs.”
“No commercial flights can commence at Whenuapai until the Government is prepared to make the airfield available, and until all of the necessary consents have been obtained, including a rigorous examination of noise levels and related issues. Surely North Shore (City) would like to be in that tent.”