Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is confident the Government will rethink helping pay for an airport runway extension.
That’s despite Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce quashing any hopes the Government might put its weight behind the plans.
But Ms Wade-Brown this morning said a business case and resource consent were being worked through. When the business case was complete, the Government would ‘‘keep an open mind’’, she said.
In any case, taxpayer funding would not necessarily be needed, she said.
Mr Joyce was last night part of a panel at The Dominion Post and Massey University Wellington Success evening, where close to 200 of the city’s movers and shakers listened to a cross-section of leaders speak about securing the future of the capital.
Future growth and investment in the capital would not hang on a longer runway, and plenty of other cities around the world had already proven it, he said.
The notion that Wellington was being left behind when it came to development led Mr Joyce to confront the question of whether the Government supported the runway extension proposal.
‘‘I'm going to be a bit provocative with this, but I'm not actually convinced it will create massive growth for the city. It's not the holy grail.’’
He did not agree with the implication that Wellington was missing a slice of the pie when it came to infrastructure and investment, saying an improved train fleet and road networks supported that.
‘‘Government invests pretty much equally in all parts of the country, equal to the size of the population.’’
Greater Wellington Regional Council chairwoman Fran Wilde did little to hide her preference for local government amalgamation and the benefits she said ratepayers would inherit.
Since Auckland's amalgamation, it had more ‘‘energy and focus than they ever had’’, she said.
Wellington city councillor Jo Coughlan, Wellington Company director Ian Cassels, and Grow Wellington chief executive Gerard Quinn were also on the discussion panel, which was chaired by Massey vice-chancellor Steve Maharey.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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