Wellington Airport wants an urgent meeting with the advisers after accusing them of making a decision based on “false information”.

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Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

At a long-term plan committee meeting today, the board finalized its budget for the next 10 years which will now go to public consultation.

The marathon meeting which started at 9:30 am and continued well after 4:00 pm included a number of last minute amendments.

One of them was a proposal by Councilor Tamatha Paul to cut a $ 75 million loan at the airport.

The description of the loan was that it would be used to build a new dike, but some councilors and community groups believed it was a disguise for a runway extension.

The extension has long been a controversial issue for Wellingtonians who for years was engaged in legal battles. There has been no request for consent for this since one was withdrawn in 2019.

Speaking at the meeting, Paul criticized the lack of transparency.

“We still don’t know what this funding is for, and I think it is a considerable amount of money to be expected from taxpayers, without any details on what it is for.

“I am very worried that this may still go towards the extension of the track.

“In the case where this is a dike, I still have a fundamental problem with the fact that we are using public money to protect an activity which continues to contribute to the problem in the first place, namely the elevation from sea level. “

The amendment passed eight votes to seven, but the airport said it was “mystified” by the decision.

“They were making a decision mainly on bad information,” said Steve Sanderson, managing director of Wellington International Airport Limited.

“They were making a decision on extending the runway, when it is clearly about the resilience of our dikes which are about 50 years old, and which these dikes – especially the west dike, Lyall Bay – protect from first the sewer pipes, then the road, then the dike. airport.

“All that money would have gone to replacing that dike. Councilors need to go back and rethink their obligation to the sewer lines and the road.”

He said it was disappointing that the decision was made without any advisor coming to them first.

“We were a little surprised that it went to the board today, and I think they would have made a much better decision if they came to us first.

“We’re going to get a meeting with the advisers. They need to look at the information and they need to get it back on the table.”

In response, Councilor Paul said she was “surprised” at the airport herself.

“It is surprising and dishonest of the airport to claim that it is being hoaxed.

“The airport was warned about this when the council declared a climate emergency. The council and the thousands of Wellingtonians who took part in the climate strikes are serious.

“They should have no doubts about my position on this issue. I remain happy to discuss it further with them.”

She said she met with the airport last month to discuss their expansion plans.

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