Wellington’s long-term interest far more important that short-term airline interest says Coughlan

MEDIA STATEMENT   I   26 April 2016

Mayoral Candidate Jo Coughlan today said when it came to the airport runway extension, she would be weighing up Wellington’s long-term interest not the short-term interests of airlines. And if the city did invest, it would need to be reflected in its ownership stake in the airport, not a donation. 

“I am concerned about Wellington’s long term interest, not the short-term perspective of existing airlines. We need more long-term thinking. And we need to ensure that any investment made by the city is reflected in the city’s shareholding in the airport. It should not be a donation to the airport,“ Ms Coughlan said today.   

“We need long-term, big-picture thinking for New Zealand’s capital city. My vision is to restore the capital city to its rightful place in the nation and take actions that will make Wellingtonians proud over the next 100 years.

“I have already stated that as mayor, investing in infrastructure projects to bring broken-down road networks up-to-speed and future-proof the city will be a key priority.  These issues have been neglected by city leadership for many years now and reflect in the city’s trailing growth rate. That’s why I want to double tunnel the Mt Victoria and The Terrace Tunnels and take a long-term view on cycle-ways. We need tunnels, airports, roads and cycle-ways that will work and that we can be proud of for the next 100 years. 

“As mayor I will work with central government to get agreements on funding of these large infrastructure projects for the capital.  We will likely initially need more than a billion dollars.

“Since its inception in 1911 there have been six extensions of the runway. It’s not a new thing. In 1929 it was extended 350 meters, in 1938 plus 650 meters, 1946 plus 100 metres, 1959 plus 550 metres, 1972 plus 270 metres, 2009 plus 130 metres to a total of 2050 metres. Now we are looking at an additional 300 meters.

“More extensions might have happened earlier, but short term considerations prevailed.  As I understand it, some airlines opposed those extensions at the time, but it hasn’t been the end of the world for them. The price of fuel has far more impact on their profits than a few extra dollars on landing charges.

“I am yet to see the business case, but on the face of it, extending the airport has merit. Of course how it gets paid for matters as well.

In a significant policy announcement Ms Coughlan said: “In my view additional investment put into the airport extension by the city should be reflected in some way in the city’s ownership stake.  There are many ways this could potentially be achieved and I would be open to considering how the city’s investment is not seen merely as a donation,” Coughlan concluded.


Contact: Councillor Jo Coughlan 021 522142 

Jo Coughlan was elected to council in 2007 and has represented the Onslow Western Ward for three terms. Since re-election in October 2010 she has led the city's Economic Development Strategy as Economic Portfolio Leader and Chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee. Jo was a Director of Positively Wellington Tourism, which has now merged into WREDA. 

Jo is married and has six children aged 13 to 24. She has a degree in Biochemistry from Otago University.

Jo's business, Silvereye Communications, provides PR and government relations advice to a range of public and private clients both in NZ and offshore.

Prior to establishing her own business, Jo has held senior communications roles in the public and private sector; and worked as a Press Secretary for NZ Foreign Minister Sir Don McKinnon.

Jo Co-Chair’s the New Zealand Chinese Language Week Charitable Trust and Chairs the Life Education Trust Wellington City. Jo has just stepped down, after six years, as Deputy Chair of The National Board of Life Education which provides health education to over 250,000 children nationally with 50 mobile classrooms across 30 trusts nationwide.

In 2015 Jo was a Finalist in two categories in the Westpac Women of Influence Awards. In 2009 she was a Finalist in Wellington's Women in Business - Best New Business Award.

Jo was formerly involved in crèche and kindergarten committees, coached primary school netball for 10 years, and led the fundraising of more than $100,000 for secondary school rowing.

Wellington’s long-term interest far more important that short-term airline interest says Coughlan

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