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Planned Runway Closure "Prejudices Appeal"

Media Release From: Paraparaumu Airport

Planned Runway Closure "Prejudices Appeal"

The Paraparaumu Airport Coalition says developer's plans to close the East/West runway at the Airport will prejudice its appeal to the Environment Court and could endanger safety standards. It says the plan to close the alternate runway is an attempt to pre-judge an Environment Court hearing which will consider the very same issue.

Nick Fisher, convenor of the Airport Coalition, says: “It is completely unacceptable for a developer to jump the gun like this. This is an issue that must be decided by the Judge, not a developer concerned solely with profits.”

The Coalition says the developers should also wait for the official report on the air crash at the airport which killed three people earlier this year, and which has still not been completed.

The Coalition is reacting to a statement from the lawyers for Paraparaumu Airport Limited, who have advised the Environment Court that the closure is planned to "improve airport safety."

The lawyers say the present runway will be replaced with a shorter runway which will only be available to light aircraft in emergencies. But Mr Fisher says this will mean a major reduction in airport safety and usability for aviation.

He says the Kapiti Coast Council, which is the planning authority involved in the Environment Court case, should try to prevent any action which will prejudice the appeal.

The appeal to the Environment Court opposing non-aviation development of the Airport is due to be heard in the Environment Court early in the New Year.

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The Coalition is asking the Court to order the retention of the alternate runway and to prevent the establishment of an industrial park on the airport by rejecting Plan Change 73.

It is also supporting the claims by former Maori landowners, represented by Te Whanau a Te Ngarara.

The Maori landowners, and a group of Pakeha landowners, had their land taken by the New Zealand Government for development of an airfield during the Second World War.

ENDS

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