Wellington Scoop

Fran Wilde wants business case for longer runway; but will ratepayers agree to pay?

News from GWRC
Regional Council Chair Fran Wilde has welcomed the economic analysis of an airport runway extension as a significant step in the debate about the proposed project. She says there is general support within the region for the runway extension but warns that the test will come when ratepayers or taxpayers are asked to contribute funding.

“Economic growth in the Wellington region still lags behind Auckland – and in fact the rest of New Zealand – and Wellington’s connectedness is a key issue,” Ms Wilde said. “This independent analysis is positive and now we need a detailed and robust business case developed to demonstrate the benefits for the airport, the airlines and the region as a whole.

“Business-as-usual is not an option for the Wellington region if we want to attract and retain people and firms.

“We need to focus on the areas and opportunities that stack up economically and socially and that are going to have the greatest impact. The runway extension may prove to be one of those and we look forward to more detailed engineering, environmental and financial information.

“Being connected at a national and international level is a major driver for regional economic prosperity and for several years has been a cornerstone of the Wellington Regional Strategy, which focuses on opportunities to improve the region’s economic performance,” Ms Wilde says.

“Wellington’s connectedness has been a clearly identified constraint, with the region considered ‘moderate’ in terms of international trade, migration and international student connections. At the core of this is the quality of our foundation infrastructure and transport systems.”