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Unions Wellington Launches Campaign To Stop Airport Sale

The Wellington branch of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has launched a campaign to oppose the sale of the Wellington City Council’s 34% share in the Wellington Airport.

A public forum will be held at Thistle Hall at 6pm, Wednesday 17 April. There will be food and drink, and speakers, including economists, representatives from unions and community organisations. Nine Wellington City Councillors have confirmed they will be attending.

A petition to “Keep the Airport Ours” was launched on Together on Tuesday 9 April, and has acquired over 1400 signatures.

In November last year, the Wellington City Council passed a majority vote to put the proposed sale of its Wellington Airport shares out for consultation, but Unions Wellington says selling would put workers and the climate at risk.

“Selling our airport will leave Wellingtonians poorer in the long term,” says Unions Wellington spokesperson Sabina Rizos-Shaw. “The council should be looking to attain greater public ownership of strategic assets, not less.”

“Total private control of one of Wellington’s largest employers will undoubtedly result in worse conditions for workers,” says Rizos-Shaw.

“When public assets are privatised, it’s the workers, environment, and wider community that pay the price. Workers’ pay, health and safety, and quality of life goes down when their workplace is run for profit over public benefit.”

“As trade unionists, we know that companies with democratic oversight are better employers. They are more responsive to the needs and concerns of workers and the wider community.”

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“Public ownership allows us to have a say in how enterprises are run,” says Rizos-Shaw. “Selling our airport means losing any democratic oversight, leaving us with less power to hold polluters to account and ensure a just transition away from dependency on fossil fuels.”

“To ensure a healthy planet for us and for future generations, the Council must put workers, the public, and the environment first, and keep the airport in public hands.”

Rebecca Matthews, Laurie Foon, Tim Brown, Iona Pannett, Nīkau Wi Neera, Teri O'Neill, Nureddin Abdurahman, Geordie Rogers and Ray Chung have confirmed their attendance to the public forum. Ben McNulty has sent his apologies but will provide a statement

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