Chamber welcomes positive report on runway extension

Wellington Chamber of Commerce welcomes the economic impact report on extending the airport runway which shows great benefits for the city, the region and for New Zealand.

Chief Executive John Milford says the report backs up what the Chamber and many others have said for some time – that there are great economic benefits from the initiative.

"The numbers in this report speak for themselves: for every $1 spent on the extension project there will be a net benefit of $7. That is a very good cost-benefit ratio.

"The net benefit to New Zealand is huge: $2.1 billion brought about in large part by the 125,000 new visitors a year that bigger aircraft will bring in from more destinations that will be in reach of the airport.

"You can see how that will happen. The business case forecasts that new generation aircraft, such as the Boeing Dreamliner or the Airbus A350, will be able to fly directly to cities in South East Asia, south China, and the west coast of the United States. That will really put Wellington on the international map.

"The report also estimates that the Wellington region might expect to receive almost a third of the net benefits of the additional visitor expenditure – equating to between $500 million and $1.5 billion.

Mr Milford said the report, by Sapere Research Group, one of the biggest expert services firms in Australasia, was as thorough.

"This is great progress and it's very exciting.

"As far back as 1960 the Chamber was advocating for an extension for international jet services, which delivered vital and ever-growing links with Australia, and most of our members still see direct long-haul connections as vital to the region. This report says that's the case.

"We've said to date that the business case must stack up, and that there's got to be a commitment from an airline to fly an international route into Wellington.

He said he was confident that Wellington International Airport Ltd had covered a number of key aspects ahead of the consultation and encouraged Wellingtonians to participate in the upcoming public consultation.

"They've talked to their neighbours, recreational groups and iwi, and they have looked at issues such as marine ecology and coastal processes, landscape and urban design, the effects on Lyall Bay and its users, cultural issues, and issues throughout the construction period, including traffic, noise.

"It's now vital that the public have their say. It's particularly important for Wellingtonians to have a good look at what is being proposed and give the company their feedback before the application is finalised.

"I urge people to take advantage of the public open days where they can meet one-on-one with the experts who undertook the assessments."

For more information contact Brent Webling 021 821 383