Source: Property Council New Zealand – Wellington runway extension must take off

It’s time the break on Wellington’s desperately needed growth was lifted. This can be done through better international connectivity.

The proposed extension to Wellington Airport’s runway will unlock the growth potential for all of central New Zealand through greater air connectivity and foot traffic in and out of the capital.

More than 700 people per day, each way, flying long-haul from Wellington’s market catchment make the business case for the extension compelling and difficult to ignore.

We spoke to the deputy mayor Justin Lester and he told us there are four times the number of people to fill direct flights to Asia out of Wellington and that number is expected to grow. “The numbers are sound and should be left to do the talking. Our analysis has been undertaken by EY and Intervistas, a leading management consulting company with expertise in aviation, transportation and tourism, and independently peer reviewed by PWC and Airbiz.”

Mr Lester says the council has been in dialogue with airlines who have expressed interest in operating direct flights out of Wellington. “They recognise Wellington is a lucrative and profitable market, given the level of Government, corporate and diplomatic corps activity in the city. All mayors of our nine regional councils have agreed to support in principle, a proposal that they contribute to the estimated $300 million that will cost to build it.”

But groups such as the Board of Airline Representatives New Zealand Inc (BARNZ) have been saying in the media they haven’t heard of plans of any international airliners operating out of Wellington. Mr Lester says of course they haven’t. “These plans are commercially sensitive information and affect competitiveness in the industry, no one is going to announce it this early on into debate.”

Branch President Mike Cole says it’s fantastic to see the council committed to the region’s growth. “We need international connectivity which is a key character of every international city. It is greatly pleasing to note Wellington City Council commit $90 million in its draft 10-year project plan to the $150 million coming from councils. That is 60% of the total share, and demonstrates the council’s willingness to help our city prosper.”

We encourage members to post comments in support of the project here.


Selwyn Manning, BCS (Hons.) MCS (Hons.) is an investigative political journalist with 23 years media experience. He specializes in reportage and analysis of socioeconomics, politics, foreign affairs, and security/intelligence issues. Selwyn has extensive experience as a commentator and has provided live political analysis to a wide range of television and radio organizations broadcasting in New Zealand, Australia and globally including the BBC (Five Live, London) and BBC (World Service). He is currently a correspondent to Australia's FiveAA radio, and is a regular live-on-air panelist on Radio New Zealand's The Panel with broadcaster Jim Mora.