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“We Did Our Best To Fight For Our Community”: South Auckland Loses Battle For Airport Shares

South Auckland councillors and local boards say last week’s [16 May] long-term plan (LTP) decision was a lost battle for the council’s remaining 11 per cent stake in Auckland Airport.

This week, Cr Lotu Fuli told the Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board that she and fellow Manukau ward councillor Alf Filipaina did their best to maintain some ownership of the major Southside asset.

“Cr Filipaina and I gave our views. We did our best to fight for the community,” Fuli said.

Last week’s LTP vote supported Mayor Wayne Brown’s proposal to create an Auckland Future Fund, which would use Auckland Council's stake in Auckland Airport to pay for a fund manager.

The Governing Body's support for fund means Auckland Council’s remaining 11 per cent shareholding in Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) will be sold and the proceeds will go to the financial management of an Auckland Future Fund, according to Brown's LTP.

Local board member Ashraf Choudhary asked Fuli if all airport shares would be sold.

Fuli responded that financial advice to the Governing Body has stated that “all shares will be sold very quickly”.

Auckland Council's Governing Body voted on the city's long-term plan which included the sale of 11 per cent of its stake in Auckland Airport. Photo: Alka Prasad, Local democracy reporter
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She said creating the future fund will mean Auckland's assets will go into more profitable investments.

When Choudhary asked if new investments will bring guaranteed income at the same rate as AIAL, Fuli said, “these are all uncertainties I tried to raise in the debate.”

She said the Governing Body will discuss the choice of fund’s trustees and protection policies in the coming months.

“We have been advised there will be protections in place, but there is no guarantee,” Fuli said.

Local board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia praised Fuli and Filipaina for representing the community’s views last week.

“It was a hard battle,” Autagavaia said.

“We will continue to fight for our communities. Thank you for your hard work. It’s not unnoticed in our community,” he said to Fuli.

The proposal was criticised by South Auckland local boards and councillors before the vote.

The day before the LTP vote, Cr Filipaina told the Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board that the sale of airport shares will be a “slap in the face” for Manukau.

“I will not be supporting airport shares going into the fund,” Filipaina said.

Māngere-Ōtāhuhu local board opposed the creation of the fund and airport share sales.

“We 100 per cent oppose the sale of the remaining shares,” Bakulich told Local Democracy Reporting earlier this month.

Manukau ward councillors Alf Filipaina (left) and Lotu Fuli (right).

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