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Folly of the year

Written By: - Date published: 7:55 am, July 26th, 2020 - 41 comments
Categories: climate change, Economy, Environment, global warming, infrastructure, International, uncategorized - Tags:

In the middle of a multi-year global airline collapse…

and our worst-ever tourism collapse …

and one of our worst economic collapses…

Within 45 minutes of an international airport…

and within 25 minutes of another major regional airport…

On 700 acres of flat productive farmland and vineyards…

In an area marketed for decades as pure and uninterrupted in its high country vistas…

In a country that’s finally trying to limit its greenhouse emissions…

… the first thing that comes to mind is: let’s build another large international airport.

Right here.

At some point the airlines of New Zealand will have another run through the Commerce Commission of requiring airports to prove the justification of their landing charges through an efficient use of their assets. A new underused and overcapitalised piece of tarmac will have the QC’s rubbing their hands with glee.

So before they get to that point, could Christchurch Council have a word as the Christchurch Airport shareholder with its board, before Otago loses its shit?

41 comments on “Folly of the year ”

  1. Andre 1

    This kind of visionary leadership to spot the opportunities lesser minds are blind to is why the executive class gets paid the big bucks! Jest like the head of a council-owned monopoly with zero commercial risk and quasi-governmental powers of coercion that has nevertheless failed to ensure our water supply meets expectations is still totes worth $770k-ish annually.

  2. greywarshark 2

    edit
    Tarras? Where is that? Oh it's a bit of wasteland that doesn't have an airport on it and the land value is cheap so it could undercut present airports nearby.

    We are a country of only 5 million where a good proportion of people want to worship Trump's lifestyle, and a large bad proportion of people have a bloody cheek to desire a steady job, a steady wage, a life worth living etc etc…. It makes sense to keep on building things for that will be paid for over future decades. Not! If something can't be paid off within five years then if it is speculative then it shouldn't be built. Our present time is short to recover costs as climate change problems build and we suffer the expected results that limit our and everbody’s lives despite the refusal to acknowledge this from a significant body of bodies not using their minds.

    As for actual tourists – we will have plenty of activity in NZ in the rebuilding, repairing, rehabilitating sector as we recover from the latest natural disaster. We can build an interest in overseas tourists in watching how we get on; can Eden survive? Sell disaster tourism, get people involved, say start Friends of NZ so tourists come here to work on some project that saves or conserves something. This can be a worldwide trend in tourism that replaces the gape, stare and pass-on that forms such a large part of the tourist business at present.

    Give people an experiential involvement during their stay, and take away the special numbered plaque giving title to a square inch of NZ to put on their wall at home. If they came often enough they might gain enough land to bury their ashes in. Return to Eden could be quite a selling point.

    • weka 2.1

      Tarras? Where is that? Oh it's a bit of wasteland that doesn't have an airport on it and the land value is cheap so it could undercut present airports nearby.

      lol. Terra nullius.

      • Graeme 2.1.1

        Christchurch paid $45 Mill for 750 Ha, QAC just paid $130 Mill, or thereabouts for a block beside Queenstown Airport, to cover the next cycle's growth, maybe, really just catch up with the last cycle's growth. The numbers get mindbogglingly huge when you start talking about airports here, complicated by the astronomical value of land at Frankton, $700 – $1700 /m2.

        Flightplan 2050 go into the detail quite well, one takeaway, QAC could sell / redevelop the existing Queenstown airport land, build a new airport at Tarras of Five Rivers, and have change.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          None of it is sustainable. None. Whatever they are basing their plan and costings on, it's not taking into account the realities of climate change. They can't conceive of a world where we are ok but don't have perpetual growth. It's a failure of imagination mostly (although I am sure there are some that just don't care).

          • vto 2.1.1.1.1

            it is not travel that is not sustainable

            it is carbon-burning combustion engines which are not sustainable

            people continually confuse these two things

            there will be more travel in the future, not less

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              manufacture and maintenance of infrastructure to move people fast over distance is energy intensive and much harder in a post-carbon world. Basic EROEI issues. The reason that FFs got us the advantages they did is because of the energy density.

              (nice to see you btw, haven't seen you in a while).

            • Pat 2.1.1.1.1.2

              "there will be more travel in the future, not less"

              I very much doubt it…there are two main factors that are likely to reduce the pool of travellers …the inevitable cost increases due to a multitude of factors not least of which is the self reinforcing downward spiral of cost, and the increasing fracturing of the globalisation model back into national and regional blocks.

              And then theres the now available alternative of virtual interaction.

              And thats even if you ignore climate change (which we increasingly will be unable to do)

              • weka

                Many NZers seem to think they can just travel in country now, until we get back to mass international flights.

  3. Matiri 3

    Christchurch Airport ownership – 75% Christchurch City Council 25% NZ Government

  4. Chris T 4

    When I saw this on the news the other day I rhought it was odd as well.

    Why have 3 fairly large airports within 50km of each other?

    At the bottom of the South Island?

    I get London needing Heathrow and Gatwick, given the population, but Otago?

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    The Silicon Valley boys need a place to land their jets unobserved.

  6. Chris T 6

    The cynic in me sees them building this, Queenstown Airport being sold by the local council and it being turned into hotels and housing.

    • Matiri 6.1

      An aviation analyst made the same point about housing yesterday!

      • Chris T 6.1.1

        It was getting to be an annoying place to go to already when we had open tourism, due to so many tourists and the housing spread.

        (My uncle lives there, who I fly down to see quite often.)

        I think it is going to get to the stage where it goes from picturesque tourist attraction to ugly packed amusement park with a lake and a fairly famous hamburger joint.

        • barry 6.1.1.1

          FFS, that was already twenty years ago. The airport is the only reason I ever go there, and I immediately hire a car and drive south or east to get away from the place

    • Tricledrown 6.2

      Auckland Airport owns queenstown airport and a shareholding in Wanaka.

      Wanaka residents don't want jet's making noise ruining the peaceful quiet which characterise Wanaka.

      • Chris T 6.2.1

        Bit weird Didn't know that. You are right.

        Wiki

        Owner – Auckland Airport Corp, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Shareholders

      • bwaghorn 6.2.2

        Kinda makes sense to me if we forget tourism is helping our death spiral.

        One central airport that can take big planes of people to where they want to be .

        Will getting ride of the accident waiting to happen that flying into queenstown airport is .

        And only the few people in tarras to appease, which rocketing land prices would mostly achieve.

        • weka 6.2.2.1

          people wanting to get where they want can get fucked. Sorry, but if it's tourists, that was a dead end industry before covid, we just had our heads in the sand that mass tourism is incompatible with climate action.

          If it's residents (looking at you QL and CO), then if they want to live in a city they should live in a city, not live in the country and fly back and forth to their city life.

          If it's kiwis wanting a holiday, get on a bloody train. If you think having a holiday is ticking off a bucket list like Queenstown, then don't every claim to want climate action. Time to put our lives where our mouths are.

          All of the above can be resolved without building more airports, it just requires humans to change their behaviour instead of thinking we can have it all on a plate.

      • Bearded Git 6.2.3

        3,400 people (including 3 QC's) have joined a group (Protect Wanaka) that opposes Wanaka airport having $400m spent on it to become jet capable, which is what the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC-25% owned by Auckland Airport) is proposing. I am one of the 3,400.

        Crucially documents have been sighted that show QAC appears to support the closing down of Queenstown airport, and Wanaka Airport becoming the only airport in the District, with masses of jets landing over Wanaka.

        If Queenstown Airport is closed down the underlying land is worth $1.2 billion. A planned sustainable town that will house 12,000 people will replace the airport in Frankton.

        In the context of the above an airport at Tarras, where both Queenstown and Wanaka Airports close down (or Wanaka is retained for Helicopters, private jets, scenic flights and commercial parachuting operations) is actually a good idea.

        Tarras will have a runway that is 2.2km long-enough for wide body jets. Queenstown and Wanaka runways are not long enough for this. Maybe it will have a fleet of electric buses taking people to Queenstown and Wanaka.

        Despite the possible sustainability of a new town at Frankton, my preference is for Queenstown Airport to stay as it is, Wanaka to be developed in a minor way to accommodate domestic turbo-prop services and and jet overflow not able to land in Queenstown should go to already jet-capable Invercargill. But it is a toss-up.

        I make the assumption in saying the above that the NZ tourist industry will return to pre-covid health in 2-3 years time. I assume CHCH Airport is making the same assumption.

        • weka 6.2.3.1

          Mass tourism and the aviation industry has no plan for climate change. Please stop thinking that covid is the only, or even the main issue here.

          • Bearded Git 6.2.3.1.1

            Agreed weka….that is why I do not favour any new jet airports….see above

          • bwaghorn 6.2.3.1.2

            Oh but the do have a plane my dear weka . Blanket the planet in pines , just tick that little box pay a couple of $ extra an walaa problem solved.

          • Herodotus 6.2.3.1.3

            So why is there so much commentary about the idea to build a train track from Auckland airport to cbd ? And we still have labour’s desire to still hold this. Bad idea 4 years ago, so why is it still being pushed ?
            Hopefully the same folly regarding extending the Auckland “Jetties” for those cruise ships, how silly those pushing that must feel now, just as well we didn’t commit to that 🤪

            • Sacha 6.2.3.1.3.1

              The airport was always a red herring. The need for increased public transport services is for all the other places on the route, like Mt Roskill and Mangere.

    • Gabby 6.3

      Not workers' housing though, nobody gets rich from that.

  7. RedBaronCV 7

    The existing Dunedin airport floods doesn't it? Queenstown – an aviation person mentioned once that it's not a great airport to fly into. Basically because its in a bowl of hills so if a landing has to abort or there are other take off or landing issues there is basically no place to go that isn't a hill.. I've never flown in there since.

    One airport for the whole region might make sense but only if fast all weather transport could be guaranteed – good luck with that.

    So lets over invest in non existent non sustainable tourism.

  8. weka 8

    We now want to use our experience to ensure the South Island is well-positioned to take advantage of future aviation trends and remain well-connected to the rest of the world.”

    hahaha. Fucking unbelievable.

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    There are other follies out there – pumped hydro anyone?

    Successful as a market mechanism, but poor in energy efficiency.

  10. Graeme 10

    The real folly here is QAC's two airpot proposal, which just pisses everyone off and is just kicking the can down the road another cycle. Neither the existing Queenstown or Wanaka airports are ideal for jet operations from a Community acceptance or safety perspective. Both overfly residential areas with extreme reverse sensitivity problems and are very tight. It's only a matter of time before there's an accident in Queenstown because of the short runway.

    The Tarras proposal is a welcome circuit breaker, putting up an alternative proposal and getting everyone to take a deep breath. Good work Government, as 25% shareholder in this, and Christchurch for defending it's existing airport investment. The alternative was a national airport landscape dominated by Auckland International Airport Ltd.

    The Tarras site is not the ideal airport site for a Central Otago Regional Airport, it will have crosswind issues and gets a fair bit of fog like most flat places in the Central valleys, . But it's better than the existing Queenstown and Wanaka locations, and it's much more achievable than other greenfield sites. It's also the ideal site for an integrated multi mode transport hub serving the whole of Central Otago.

    Yesterday's ODT editorial gave an excellent overview of the issues, and a few ironies, and made this point

    Everyone will have an opinion on Tarras, and in the end, once again the courts will most likely be asked to decide. But, the biggest flaw the Christchurch Airport proposal shows up is New Zealand’s lack of cohesive infrastructure planning. Surely the Tarras proposal should not live or die by what one small community thinks but by what the South Island actually needs.

    The South Island's residents, and it's tourist industry, weren't going to be served well by the limited and monopolistic QAC / AIA vision for air services in Central Otago. This will have a way to go yet, but the QAC two airport proposal is all over, as is a greenfield development by QAC.

    Other transport modes need exploring as well. Currently we have several hundred linehaul trucks going through Tarras daily. These carry just about everything we eat and otherwise consume in Central. And the number is increasing daily as the economy here shows no sign of slowing post covid, if anything it's shifted up a gear. A modern rail link to Christchurch, built to a standard allowing medium speed services (160 kmh+) may be an option alongside a more limited air service. A modern, reasonable rail journey would be quite something for the users and getting the trucks, and a good proportion of the rental cars, off the road another a major advantage.

    • I think the fog issue can be got around using technology these days-they can land and take off in it.

      Not sure about the cross-winds.

      Much though I love rail, a new line to Central Otago would almost certainly be prohibitively expensive.

      Queenstown airport will close down if Tarras goes ahead-see above.

    • Ad 10.2

      Good points Graeme.

  11. Adam Ash 11

    Good solar resource there. Stick wind turbines on the ridge and use spare land on the airport for solar pv panels. Put a Tesla Megapack farm in to store the power. Use said power to refuel electric airplanes and buses and supply the local grid. Then you have an airport that is a bit sustainable and has some resilience in the event of the alpine fault earthquake going off.

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