Wellington Airport Extension

airport image

Submissions on the Airport Extension closed on Friday 12th August.

Wellington Airport Ltd. needs resource consent for the planned extension of the airport runway - and because that resource consent application has been publicly notified, you get the chance to tell Wellington Airport not to waste public funds on this high-risk project.

Submissions close at 4.30pm on Friday 12 August 2016 - but why wait? Get your submission in today! And if you have any questions about the submissions process, please contact guardiansofthebays@gmail.com


How to make a submission:

Sometimes the word “submission” can be a block to people who want to get involved in having their say on various matters as part of the democratic process. A submission is actually a simple letter containing an expression of how you feel about a subject and what you want to see happen.

State whether you are acting as an individual or as a representative of a group.

Divide the aspects you want to cover into paragraphs, e.g.

1. the purpose of your submission (e.g. whether you wish to oppose the project in full, or raise concerns about some aspects of it) and the reason you are making a submission.
2. any personal involvement with the topic e.g. that you live locally, reasons for visits to area, personal knowledge, why you value that area (e.g. retirement - peace and quiet), dismay at changing values of area, impact on family/ friends
3. actions you wish to see happen and reasons
4. aspects of their plans which you do not like and reasons
5. summarise your ideas
6. state if you wish to be heard at the hearing.
You can be very effective if you give reasoned arguments and state your personal experiences as opposed to form letters. It is estimated that for every person who takes the time to write there are 100 who never get around to it but have opinions similar to yours - so this is another reason to write! Your effort counts for 100 others!

Suggested submission text: 

In addition to your personal reasons for submitting, here are some points you might want to use:

Overstated cost-benefit predictions

Wellingtonians are yet to see an independent, rigorous and robust business case to ensure the promised benefits stand up to scrutiny and that the considerable investment is warranted.

Costs:

  • At $350 million, the claimed cost of the proposed runway equates to just under $1 million for every metre.
  • The Government has made it clear that it is unlikely to financially support the runway extension, leaving ratepayers throughout the region to carry most of the burden for years to come.
  • Wellington ratepayers want a cast-iron assurance that our rates bills won’t rise due to the cost of the proposed runway, and that we will not have to pay any shortfall.
  • A runway extension will inevitably mean less money for the councils throughout the region to re-invest in local projects that are beneficial to all residents in our city.
  • The costs of the extension will affect us all. Under Wellington Airport’s existing pricing practices, they are entitled to pass on the costs of the runway extension to all airline airport users, regardless of whether those airlines are users of the direct long-haul services that are the reason for the extension. This means the costs of travel will increase for all passengers, not just those passengers using the direct long-haul flights.

Viability:

  • Wellingtonians want a firm commitment from airlines that they will fly a regular and daily long-haul route to the city before the runway extension is built.
  • Even so, experience in at least 5 NZ airports shows that even if airlines agree in principle to fly to Wellington ahead of the extension being built, there are no guarantees that they will follow through.
  • Representatives of 20 international airlines flying into NZ, and Air New Zealand, do not support the runway extension due to the lack of viability.
  • Airline pilots have publicly stated their concerns about the safety of landing larger planes at Wellington Airport and are currently challenging WIAL’s application in the High Court due to these safety concerns. At present, WIAL’s application to extend the runway only provides for a 90 metre runway end safety area (RESA). The airline pilots contend that, if the runway is to be extended, WIAL should provide for a 240 metre RESA to ensure that it is safe to land larger planes.

Economic growth:

  • All Wellingtonians want the city to succeed, but we remain unconvinced that the proposed runway extension is the silver bullet, nor is it our economic lifeline.
  • We need to focus on building awareness of what a great city Wellington is to do business in and visit before we even consider building a runway extension.
  • Ensuring that Wellington has regular and timely connections to key Australasian hubs will deliver better choices and lower costs for Wellingtonians.
  • Wellington should invest in improving its existing, vulnerable and ageing infrastructure before committing to think-big projects.

Demand Forecasts:

  • The case for extending the runway is founded on a number of assumptions with a questionable basis, such as, international tourists will prefer arriving in Wellington and executing a figure-of-eight to cover the main tourist destinations, rather than simply arriving at one end of the country and traveling to the other before leaving.

Construction Effects

WIAL has applied for a construction consent term of 10 years. That’s a long time to be causing significant disruptions to residents throughout all of Wellington.

Traffic effects during construction

  • WIAL’s proposed method of transporting the fill material to the Airport site for construction of the Runway Extension is via truck and barge.
  • According to their reports, there will be a maximum of 30 trucks per hour transporting fill to the site during the daytime and 5 to 30 trucks per hour during the night. That’s 1 truck every two minutes.
  • Proposed “haulage” (transport) times are 9.30am – 2.30pm and 10pm – 6am. This is likely to be disruptive to sleep for residents along the route.
  • The outbound daytime transport route from the Airport construction site is Moa Point Rd → Lyall Parade → Onepu Rd → Evans Bay Parade → SH1. This is a revised route from that proposed during public consultation. The previous report noted that Onepu Road and Evans Bay Road “would not be suitable to support the transportation of fill materials to the runway site and using them would create substantial adverse traffic and road safety effects that would be very difficult to mitigate.”
  • The trucks will go through the Mt Victoria and Terrace tunnels and around the Basin Reserve, increasing congestion

Effects on the environment and people

Wellington’s prized South Coast will be damaged by the proposed Runway Extension. Here’s how …

Surfing Effects:

  • The Runway Extension will adversely affect the regionally significant, and highly popular, surf break at Lyall Bay.
  • The famous “Airports Rights” surf break will be lost with the Runway extension.
  • There will be a reduction in the number of surfable days.

Recreation:

  • The recreational report lacks robust assessment – it was based on an online survey of 2,700 Wellington residents: 

    only 13% were residents of Lyall Bay or nearby suburbs.
  • water sport participants only made up a small proportion of respondents to the survey.

Marine life:

  • Lyall Bay is one of the cleanest pieces of water around Wellington. The Taputeranga Marine Reserve is less than 1km from the Runway Extension.
  • The Taputeranga Marine Reserve prohibits all fishing and diving within the reserve area. As a result, nearby Moa Point has become an important site for recreational diving and fishing.  Moa Point also harbours giant kelp forests and is a nesting site for little blue penguins and regional stronghold for nationally endangered and regionally critical reef heron. Whales, dolphins and seals regularly pass through.  Recreational and diving activities, and local flora and marine life, will be affected by the proposed runway extension.
  • WIAL hopes to use marine-derived sediment for the infill, potentially from the proposed CentrePort Harbour dredging operation. There have been reports of parts of this sediment being contaminated and no consent for dredging has been granted.

Climate Change

  • WIAL appears to have failed to properly consider the combined effects of sea level rise and storm surges on the proposal, and has not adequately taken into account the effects on the runway extension of the possible extent of sea level rise, including the effects on access to Wellington Airport.

Alternative Airport Sites

  • The Airport’s investigation into alternative sites for the airport is a 1992 Study – now 24 years old. It appears that there have been no further investigations of sites for Wellington Airport other than those investigated in 1992 in the last 24 years.

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