Key opens rich mates’ marina, slaps local Maori

Written By: - Date published: 8:59 am, November 22nd, 2009 - 44 comments
Categories: Environment, john key, maori party - Tags:

Unbelievable. John Key has opened the environmentally destructive Whangamata Marina. This was a battle between rich property developers, against the serious concerns of local Maori, surfers, and environmentalists.

Key has come down firmly on the side of his rich mates. But not only that, he’s promised more marinas!

The building of marinas along popular coastal areas in the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty is set to become easier. The Prime Minister has given his support for future developments..

“I think it sends a very strong signal that New Zealand is a country for progress. We want to see development as long as it’s done in the right way and this is a tremendous example of that. It’s at one with the community and nature.”

John Key’s dream of draining Coromandel’s wetlands to build marinas for wealthy developers is an especially big slap in the face for local Maori. Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples are obviously too busy giving rich Maori a $2b subsidy, to prevent the Prime Minister from stealing the heritage of ordinary tangata whenua.

Settling on the side of the wealthy above ordinary Kiwis is becoming a hallmark of this government. Keep rolling like this Mr Key and people will start to see through that smirk.

44 comments on “Key opens rich mates’ marina, slaps local Maori”

  1. Bill 1

    Kinda funny given that in recessions and during depressions a majority of people get poorer and a goodly number of those who had toys on the water for the weekend start to get rid of said toys. (Of course, the very rich get richer and buy bigger toys, but given the small numbers involved and the stupid size of their berths, that will have bugger all impact on marina development.)

    So, Johnny can give all the endorsements he wants, but people need to be able to afford to buy and maintain those yachts and what not prior to them demanding a marina.

    I’d take it more as another sign of a disconnect from reality rather than a serious threat to the integrity of the coastline…

  2. Chris 2

    Donkey did look kinda haggard and worn out on telly last night. A side effect of being PM, remembering the way Helen looked after a year of being NZ’s most effective and brillant PM.

    Captcha: Years.

    Funny how captchas can sum up your comment in one pithy word.

    • Tigger 2.1

      Well, he always looks kind of haggard to me…looks even worse in person than he does on TV (Clark I always though looked better up close than on camera) but his tone here is anything but lifeless. His trumpeting cry of how they won the battle is truly bizarre. Expect more of this as Key starts to play to ‘his crowd’ rather than keep everybody happy – a natural result of being in government for a year and having suffered from trying to please too many people. I welcome this Key – if he keeps this up he’ll at least start showing his true colour.

  3. jess 3

    No where in your post did you mention the locals who are neither maori nor surfers, nor environmentalists, who are also serverly impacted on by this marina and the possible future ones to come. Many of whom are strongly opposed these marinas, expecially as they laregly benefit wealthy visitors from outside the area, rather than local residents.

    Lets hope they remember john keys smirking face when it comes to the polls next time round.

    • Michael Foxglove 3.1

      jess, you’re absolutely right. All ordinary locals who will suffer from this development.

      It’s not fair that a bunch of wealthy developers can just by-pass the concerns of those who’ve live in the community permanently and have done so for years.

    • spot 3.2

      “Lets hope they remember john keys smirking face when it comes to the polls next time round….”

      Maybe they remembered Chris Carter and David B-P last time around.

      This post should be about the RMA, Environment Court, Marine Park legislation, DoC, Waikato (?) council etc etc

      Or is this what one or two posters here call a ‘dog whistle’?

      • felix 3.2.1

        No, that’s not what dog whistling means. Sheesh how do you people remember to breathe?

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.2.2

        If your issue is with the time it took to make a decision on this Marina, you are absolutely right.
        Nick Smith claims he has fixed the problem- though I’ve got my doubts.

    • Andy B 3.3

      Hang on. Lets be the voice of reason here. And put the environmental concerns aside, of course.

      How exactly does a marina negatively impact the town? Further than environmental damage and potential damage to the quality of the surf, I can’t see that it does. What a marina does do is bring in more people from out of town that spend MONEY in shops and cafes and this MONEY will have a positive effect on the local community as the majority of people living in seaside towns work in the service industry or a retirees. I’m certainly not advocating a ‘trickle down’ effect of neo-liberalism because we know that doesn’t work. However, if business improves, it will hopefully mean that the benefits of more business are passed on to the workers. And yes marinas attract wealthy people and wealthy people are more likely to spend more money in the town which benefits it more. By restricting such development (other than for environmental reasons etc.), one is restricting the growth of business and, because we are a capitalist country, this adversely effects the workers. Development is important to grow the economy of small towns as well as the entire nation – every little bit counts.

      However, the environmental concerns are grave and the economic benefits do not necessarily out weigh these concerns.

      NOTE: I’m not making any judgment about whether the Whangamata Marina is positive or negative.

  4. Zaphod Beeblebrox 4

    I would assume that Marina construction is preformed somewhere between the high and low tide marks.

  5. Sam 5

    Crazy. Should never have gone ahead, but it proves that if you have enough money you can do anything you want.

    Here’s hoping it’s a spectacular flop and giant money sink – the town is already fucked from the recession so that’d be insult to injury. Some people might learn a lesson or two…

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 5.1

      Price of oil when it starts to become scarce will probably sink it. Is nearly at $80/barrel and the recession is GFC has barely abated.

      • prism 5.1.1

        Perhaps then houseboats will tie up to it. Those who come will bring their commerce to the area if it is hit by recession. But I thought that most wanted it left a protected bit of coastline.

        • Zaphod Beeblebrox

          Good luck to them if they do. Not sure they will be able to afford to mooring fees

  6. NickS 6

    * rummage*

    Okay, there’s this concept in conservation biology that’s emerged in ecology, and developed more over the last couple of decades as a tool to quantify the utility of species and ecosystem to human needs called ecosystem services, helping to provide further grounds for conservation, and reducing externalities that emerge from damage to these services. In this case, wetlands are generally key habits for a wide range of species, along with filtering out sediment from freshwater inputs by reducing flow speed and reducing erosion. Which in effect reduces nutrient inputs, buffering downstream habits from major fluxes in nutrients, helping to prevent algal blooms and creating a bit of stability and so reducing the ability of invasive species to establish successfully.

    Of which, salt marshes from memory provide all of these services, and when close to human settlements, are quite useful in reducing nutrient loads from wastewater and providing habitat for commercial fish species. Which in the context of the Coromandel, with it’s small towns, and general lack of space for sewerage processing and people regularly fishing etc, along with storm surges and high rainfall, it thus seems fairly easy to recognise the utility and value of salt marshes. Which, in a rigorous economic analysis, taking into account the negative impacts of the marinas, typically discounted, I’d predict the value of the salt marshes in the long term would be nearly the same, if not more that than the marinas.

    There’s also the issues surrounding removing mangroves, of which similar points apply if memory serves me right…

    Unfortunately I don’t quite have the time/motivation to dig up the key references on this, but there’s is the 1997 review paper form Daily et al, ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems, of which pg 9 has some of the relevant details.

    • Sam 6.1

      That is a fantastic analysis, thanks so much.

      • NickS 6.1.1

        Cheers Sam, though I’d like to be able to back it up with a bit more literature. Particularly for my statement on the economic benefits of leaving the salt marshes vs turning them into marinas etc, since I’m a biology, rather than economics student, plus there’s still lively discussions over valuing ecosystem services in conservation biology etc.

        *cough cough*

        So, yeah, it’s a bit on the rough side 😛

        • Chris

          Robert Constanza is your man. Google him. He’s principally an economist but developed the idea of ecosystem services as a way of *forcing* economics to take into account provision of services provided by nature.

          The field is relatively young, but growing steadily. I can see a point in the future where benefit cost ratios will have to account for ecosystem services and disruption thereof.

          • NickS

            Name rings a bell, and looking at the partial publications list I can see why 😛

            Cheers, might try and read through a few of the papers and follow the citations on google scholar.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      All the wealth we have comes from nature. In reality we cannot produce wealth – we can only change it from one form to another and changing it isn’t always beneficial.

      Changing a salt marsh to a marina probably isn’t beneficial but people like the NACTS believe that all development is so we end up with a loss of biodiversity and other damage to the ecosystem because of faulty belief systems.

      • prism 6.2.1

        NACT will have the answer to responding to their faulty belief systems. Change our belief systems to theirs and we’ll all get along. Any problems can be settled by taking a little sugar-coated mind altering pill.

  7. RedLogix 7

    That Rod Oram article linked to is an ear-popper. He starts out with:

    The Government has made an utter mockery of the emissions trading scheme. Such is National’s abuse of policy-making, consultation and parliamentary process, the country will pay dearly for the government’s ETS mistakes for years to come.

    and doesn’t really let up. This is pretty strong language from Oram; he’s usually a lot more measured.

  8. Macro 8

    I had to turn TV1 off with this news item and the one following it – That crowd have their noses so up the bottoms of NACT its disgusting! TV3 presentation was much less biased.
    What’s the chances that the whole sad entity will last more than 40 years?

  9. derek 9

    I get sick of seeing Key arrive in Army Helicopters , he thinks hes some kind of commander and chief with a marina mission accomplished look of smugness. They must cost a mint to fly compared to a normal commercial helicopter, is he using them because the costs are under the armies and not parliamentary ? He needs to get a NZ custom leather flight jacket made with a Hawaiian tour of duty emblem..

  10. Jared 10

    How is the Marina bad for locals? It will boost the boating industry in Whangamata, providing more jobs. Not to mention all the jobs provided in building the Marina, considering the cost, $10 Million, in a recessionary climate and in a small town, this would have been a very welcome boost. In this case id look to the judicial process which found Chris Carters over ruling fundamentally flawed. The Marina will give Whangamata a well needed boost, just as the Marina in Whitianga did.

    • Macro 10.1

      Jared – if you believe that – then you will obviously swallow any other tripe that these greedies feed you! The fact of the matter is that such “developments” NEVER produce the so called extra jobs that their proponents are always touting. How about all the jobs that are to be lost as a polluted harbour puts off tourists – the 100’s of surfers who won’t return because the marina has spoilt the wave etc? As for the environmental cost – well as far as the developers are concerned, that’s been externalised, and you can pay for that!
      Jared these developments are all about making the wealthy richer at everyone else’s expense – and that’s all!

      • Andy B 10.1.1

        I’m sorry Marco, but that’s an entirely ideologically based response. We need to wait and see before we can make judgments like this. However, going on what has happened with similar towns before (i.e. Whitianga), where a marina is built, it is fantastic for the town. The flow-on effect from the extra business and infrastructure that the marina provided/needed turned a sleepy sea-side village into a busy town (again, I’m not arguing for a ‘flow-on’ neo-liberal economic theory, but jobs are created when new business open up to serve the marina (i.e. mechanics, painters, maintenance etc.) as well as cafes, supermarkets etc). Other than environmental impact, how is this adverse for the town?

      • Jared 10.1.2

        The proof Macro is in the pudding. The impact of the Marina development in Whitianga spawned a boat building, maintenance, sales, and even flow on developments. All need employees, its that obvious. The Marina in Whitianga has absolutely boosted the town, your assertion that there is going to be a significant environmental impact is shaky at best.

        • Andy B

          Well, I’m not convinced on the environmental impact being negligible. I don’t know anything about it – so I won’t support Jared in his claim that the environmental impacts are not going to be ‘significant’. Also, I’m not sure how the surfies will react and whether they will not come to Whangamata anymore. Someone might need to do/should have done some research on whether the boaties would contribute more to the economy than the surfies do/will.

          However, we potentially stand to make more money in the long, long term by guarding our environment. It all depends on too many factors to guess.

          But, as we have seen with Whitianga (and I know that town reasonably well) the marina has been a huge success for the town and I’d be interested to see what people on both sides of the pro-Whitianga-Marina lobby would say now.

          But immediately, and for the predictable future, the growth for Whangamata will be huge. And if we didn’t take risks we wouldn’t be where we were today. That’s the theme of the post! Responsible Risk Taking (I think that’s one of the core values in the new curriculum). lol.

          My captcha is “guard” – rather appropriate for a post about the environment.

  11. Macro 11

    The proof Jared is that in the past 25 years of neo-liberal economics in NZ our economy has lost jobs at an alarming rate, (hidden by redefining unemployment statistics by successive governments) and whereas we had an economy equivalent per capita to GDP to Australia in the 1980s – our economy which has followed a far more neo-liberal path has suffered to the extent that NZ’s reral economy is now about 30% worse per capita than Australia. So you suppose that the boat building industry of Whitianga is going to suddenly flow on down to Whangamata? Only if the jobs in Whangamata are cheaper. Result? More unemployment in Whitianga.
    As for the environmental cost – that is well documented and why the previous minister canned the “development”. There is only 5% of the original wetland of NZ remaining – and that salt marsh was part of it! As the inhabitants of New Orleans found to their cost you destroy wetlands at your peril.
    We do not have a democracy in this country anymore – it is a corporatocracy – the multinationals control what is to be done.

    • Andy B 11.1

      Yep. I agree with your part on neo-liberalism. However, specifically in regard to this case, there won’t be a loss of jobs in Whitianga because there will still be demand there too. Its not about boaties choosing which marina they want go in. There will be an entirely new market spring up in Whangamata because there is the demand there. Economics 101 > demand=supply. I know that there will be no drop in market in Whitianga because there is a backlog of people waiting to get berths there. Whangamata is a new market and all the infrastructure/services etc that is required will be created becasue the market demands it. It has nothing to do with creating unemployment – each new business created creates employment that takes unemployed people and puts them in work! Woot! I don’t know where you get the idea that people are just gonna sail over to Whangamata. The reality is, to keep a marina running, the boat maintenance infrastructure is a required service and as long as boats are in there, there will be demand. People aren’t going to take their boats to Whangamata to get them fixed – it would cost more because of fuel & time etc. The price for maintenance would have to be much, much lower than those at Whitianga to stop that happening. And I can’t see that they would be at all.

      Is corporatocracy a neologism? Don’t you mean plutocracy? And yes, of course we do. Welcome to capitalism. It is inevitable that money becomes concentrated within the wealthiest portion of society – its all about capital and self interest.

      There is no such thing as democracy and there never has been in any nation.

      • Andy B 11.1.1

        Ok. Corporatocracy isn’t a neologism!

        Reading the definitions on wikipedia, it would mean that Private-Public partnerships are a form of corporatocracy!

        Interesting. Going on the definition, the EFA helps prevent a corporatocracy occurring.

        Captha: “Poor” (cause thats what corporatocracy/plutocracy makes us!)

  12. Macro 12

    “Welcome to capitalism. It is inevitable that money becomes concentrated within the wealthiest portion of society its all about capital and self interest.”

    Actually it isn’t inevitable that money becomes concentrated within the wealthiest. – it is under neo-liberal economic policies. But that is not the only way we can structure economies, and it wasn’t the case before 1984 in NZ when we had one of the most egalitarian economies in the world – now we are second only to the USA in unequal distribution of wealth.
    Your contention that a new market will spring up in Whangamata presupposes that there is an increasing demand. There may be. Certainly there will be an existing demand – but where did those boaties go before? Whitianga? Tauranga? Whangamata?
    Yes I do have economics 101 in my degree. I found on further study however that much of economic theory was based on ill-founded assumptions and much of it still is.

    The EFA has little effect on the pulling of strings unfortunately – witness the current silence by the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development after being muzzled by Fonterra and Toyota after its initial criticism of the ETS on the 2nd November
    and that’s just one example.

  13. Andy B 13

    The concentration of money with the wealthy is inevitable in the version of capitalism that we’re currently in. I should’ve been clearer. You might be interested in this lecture by the head of Economics from Harvard that he gave to the London School of Economics this year. Its called Capitalism 3.0 (search it in iTunesU). He notes (his name has escaped me) that neoliberalism is the primary form of capitalism for Developed nations. Although we are moving through to Capitalism 3.0 – I can’t tell you what that is yet because I haven’t listened to the entire lecture. It will be interesting to see what he does say capitalism 3.0 will entail. I have a feeling it will be better that neoliberal economics that we have at the moment.

    It is likely that these boaties had swing moorings around Whangamata before hand and in places close buy. People also do move about marinas and their berths are rented out to other people. There is so much demand for these berths. Most boaties whose boat is big enough and can afford it would prefer to be in a marina. Which is why rarely do we see an empty marina (the only marina I’ve ever seen empty in NZ is Marsden Point – but that was a week after it opened, so most people simply hadn’t got there yet). The market for marina berths is huge. Because demand is so great, and supply is so small, the price is ridiculous. A berth at Whitianga (in 2007, I think) would cost in excess of $150,000 and that isn’t even that expensive for a berth. At Gulf Harbour, I think I saw some at $200,000+ – all this does is illustrate my point that demand is such that it would create the infrastructure/business to create jobs. People wouldn’t go to so much trouble to build a marina if they thought that people wouldn’t buy into it – particularly when it costs such a large amount to build.

    So my point is that there is such demand for berths that there will be new jobs created because the infrastructure/business etc is required to service the market. And that is a fact.

    I’m not suggesting that what we call ‘economic theory’ is always correct (look at the trouble it has got us in atm! Keynes etc.), but I think supply=demand of some form is one of the truisms of economics. Sure, sometimes there is more supply and not enough demand (although rarely) and often too much demand and not enough supply, but in a country like NZ where it seems entrepreneurs are a dime a dozen, someone will fill the hole where there is suitable demand.

    Of course, I’m just trying to demonstrate that there are many positive outcomes of the marina as well as negative ones. I don’t actually have an opinion. Just arguing a point!

    EFA – just musings.

  14. We went through all this ten years ago in the Far North. There is a small marina in Whangaroa harbour, underused and under maintained, an eyesore. Due to public protest action over a planned 160 berth marina for Mangonui harbour in 1998, there is no marina in Mangonui harbour (but who knows now with Mayor Wayne Brown). Our Harbour protection group’s research and surveys of visitors to Doubtless Bay showed that boat owners tended to bring their own supplies with them (party up and piss off), real jobs created would be about 3 (cleaning and security), evironmental and visual pollutionhigh, chances of developers crapping out due to remote location and leaving a rusting unfinished sitehigh. Visitors overwhelmingly came for our relatively unspoiled land and seascape. US studies over the life of a marina show the problems they can cause. Marinas may suit some areas but imposing these tossers boat parks on communities that are divided on their merits does little good in the long run.

    • Jared 14.1

      Opposition is typical with large scale development in small town areas. Whitianga experienced similar opposition with the Waterways project. Opposition doesn’t necessarily mean the project is bad, in this case, it was always going to be opposed, but thats how development works in the Coromandel, the locals want no change.

      • Zaphod Beeblebrox 14.1.1

        Don’t think you can stop development totally, but its type, scale and environmental effects that need to be considered.

        These are really big and difficult decisions. Key needs to be really careful here. If they promote one or two really over the top or environmentally destructive proposals, they will promote a large backlash, which will doom even good quality, well thought out proposals. They will also piss off lots of local iwi and hapu.

        They also need to consider what is likely to happen to our coasts as we see more storms and higher sea levels. Bad decisions now could cost us big time in the future. Look at the leaky homes saga.

        • Andy B

          Agreed. Kinda what I was saying above with needing to take all factors into account before saying yes or no. Including job creation scope. Some little marinas will only have several staff, but the more berths there are, the more staff are needed to service the marina and the boaties. It is my impression that the Whangamata Marina will be big particularly because the town is already well developed and this also means that it will be full and (hopefully) maintained.

  15. Swampy 15

    The marina was approved by your friends in the Labour Government, oops it seems there was a little disagreement with Chris Carter pandering to some Maoris and trying to overturn the process then his replacement Benson-Pope being a bit more sensible about it.

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    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    2 weeks ago