Wanaka airport group slams expansion consultation process [Crux, 10/02/20]
Lobby group Protect Wanaka has attacked the current airport expansion impact assessment process as being “stacked, lacking independence and lacking transparency.”
In a letter to consultants MartinJenkins’ lead consultant Jason Leung-Wai, Protect Wanaka raises nine separate areas of concern, one of which highlights a statement from the consultants that assumes tourism growth is supported by the community.
Lead consultant on the airport expansion project, Jason Leung-Wai.
Protect Wanaka has identified an extract from a MartinJenkins report that they argue shows a pre-determined view that Queenstown and the surrounding area depend solely on tourism growth for economic benefit, rather than any alternate model that the community may prefer.
“The neighbouring areas are reliant on the success of Queenstown and this is where the pressures on infrastructure from international visitors are most acute. An investment in maintaining Queenstown’s international visitor experience and sustaining tourism growth would buy significant regional and national economic benefits.
If Queenstown isn’t able to maintain its international visitor experience and sustain tourism growth, these regional and national economic benefits could be lost. Queenstown’s position as New Zealand’s most popular tourist destination (after Auckland), and the strong association between the Queenstown and New Zealand brands also means that New Zealand’s tourism brand could be damaged from a diminished Queenstown experience.”
These are the nine points highlighted by Protect Wanaka – you can read their full document using the link at the end of this story.
- Not enough weight for environmental issues.
- Lack of transparency
- A rushed and stacked process
- Impending Judicial Review
- Assumption of growth as positive
- Lack of disclosure
- Financial impacts not comprehensive
- No independent analysis
- Wanaka airport needs a separate study
Here’s is the full text of the Protect Wanaka letter. Crux plans to ask MartinJenkins for a video interview in response to Protect Wanaka’s objections.