Wellington Scoop

100 at Hataitai meeting to oppose extension of airport runway into Evans Bay

One hundred residents of Wellington’s eastern suburbs attended a meeting in Hataitai last night to express their concerns about the proposal to extend the airport runway into Evans Bay. Additionally, there were 20 apologies. Those present were greatly concerned that Evans Bay, as an iconic part of Wellington with all its aesthetic, recreational and marine features, should have its beauty spoiled by airport construction and operations.

The meeting was addressed by the Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, and Greg Thomas, a representative of Wellington International Airport. Each advanced the case for a runway extension in terms of business opportunities, tourism potential, attraction of students, and time-saving for international travelers. Environmental concerns and the preservation of the intrinsic asset of Evans Bay are issues still being addressed.

The presenters advanced the case that a long-haul direct flight from Wellington to some city in Asia would avoid the hassle of having to fly to Auckland or Christchurch for an international connection (other than Australia). It was pointed out in response that the envisaged one daily flight to one Asian centre simply made that destination a new hub for transfers to other Asian destinations, a role adequately filled by Auckland and Christchurch, each with frequent Wellington connections.

Concerns were also raised about climate change, that we should be thinking about economizing on flights rather than adding capacity.

There was near unanimous support for a motion to establish a group called Guardians of Evans Bay with a primary focus to take all steps necessary to oppose the extension of the Airport runway into Evans Bay. A follow-up planning meeting will be called in a month or so.

Meeting called and chaired by Richard Randerson, in association with local residents’ associations. Tel 976 6050


  1. Megan26, 4. July 2013, 15:38

    Environmental concerns? The trio of Celia, Greg, Warren were all pretty clear that any application will have to review all environmental matters and if the impacts are too great it’s likely not to go ahead!

  2. Hel, 4. July 2013, 20:17

    Uninformed self interest versus greater good for Wellington should be interesting.

  3. Pauline, 4. July 2013, 22:05

    Thank you Richard and all your helpers. Just not Eastern suburb ratepayers who are concerned at this plan to reclaim Evans Bay up to at least the Miramar Wharf as this is another of our treasures with recreational facilities on and off the water.

    Over the years there have been many reports on sea level rises in Kilbirnie and Lyall Bay and at this meeting the Mayor and officers were referred to the Kilbirnie Town Centre Plan Working Paper, September 2009 assessing the implications of sea level rise . Of further concern to ratepayers is that the Resource Consent process is expected to cost $2m.

    Quotes from a Berl report calculating the economic benefits were read but today there is an ANZ survey which says businesses in Wellington have weathered the storm and come through stronger and they have taken on more business banking staff in Wellington to handle the growth. The IT sector was in a particularly strong place to grow and a large number of expat IT developers had settled in Wellington for the lifestyle and started up new companies that were fuelling an environment of creativity. One quote of interest “We don’t have export issues”. Lack of an international airport does not seem to be of concern.

    There are still many questions to be asked so after this meaningful meeting it is to be hoped public consultation will be top of the agenda.

  4. Ross Clark, 5. July 2013, 4:24

    Any views as to the economics, or engineering, to extend into Lyall Bay?

  5. Rosamund, 6. July 2013, 14:30

    WIAL, an entity 1/3 owned by Wellingtonians, investigated the extension of a runway into Evans Bay in the early 1990s. The hurdles were considered insurmountable then. My recollection is that the harbour along Cobham Drive is very deep and the space is likely filled with variously contaminated leftovers from earlier industrial uses. The airport itself is on reclaimed land.

    The potential environmental damage was detailed in a NIWA report of the time and there are many other reports. Sadly the report to the Council’s LATE = which at that time was Capital City Investments Ltd – seems to have disappeared into a black hole and is not at the City Archive. I made a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) request to discover this.

    My recollection from that time was that the cost was said to be in the region of $1bn. to include consenting, designing, excavation, erection, stabilisation etc. . Nothing was factored in to reflect the social, cultural or environmental cost in those unenlightened times!

    Why would anyone want a runway extension in a deep harbour affected by climate change, storms, tsunami and earthquakes? Surely if Infratil, the 66% shareholder, wants to explore this costly (in every sense) proposal it can do so without public subsidy.

    It’s election year so perhaps that is the rationale for the resurrection of this proposal.