Local Leaders Comment on Runway Extension Update

11 September 2014

Local council leaders have welcomed a report showing long haul flights to Wellington are viable and would have significant economic benefit for the region and the country.

Wellington City Councillors, regional mayors and council chief executives were briefed yesterday (Wednesday 10 September) by Wellington International Airport Limited (WIAL) which presented an independent economic analysis of the project.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy – the Chair of the region’s Mayoral Forum – says he feels he can speak on behalf of all the region’s mayors. “The runway extension is a no-brainer. For the sake of the region’s fortunes we need direct international access.

“It is not good enough for people coming and going from Wellington to have to take the long route via Auckland.”

Wellington Deputy Mayor Justin Lester says the need for better international connections has been a key priority for the city for many years and is an important component in Council’s growth agenda. Most recently it was included as one of Council’s 8 Big Ideas.

“The Council is positive and believes the time is right for investment in a longer runway. It would be a catalyst project for the city and the region.

“However any decisions will be based on robust analysis of what’s good for ratepayers, the city’s economy and the region as a whole.”

Hutt City Mayor Ray Wallace says Hutt Valley people and businesses are “right behind” the extension proposal. “This should be termed a runway of national significance – the extension would not only provide major benefits for the region but for the whole of central New Zealand.”

Wellington City Council’s Economic Growth and Arts Committee Chair, Councillor Jo Coughlan, says the proposed runway extension needs to be seen as part of the Wellington’s continued growth and wider economic development.

“Improved connectedness has direct links to tourism and education, the proposed convention centre, and further indirect links to development areas such as a film industry precinct and film school,” she says.

“There are many factors that will need to be considered,” says Councillor Coughlan. “And our approach will continue to be based on fact and analysis.”

Wellingtonians will get a chance to have their say on any proposal which will also have to go through a comprehensive consenting process. 

Please note: Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown sits on the board of Wellington International Airport Limited (WIAL), so Deputy Mayor Justin Lester and Councillor Jo Coughlan are providing comment for Wellington City Council.