The Airport Project - Everything you Need to Know
A piece of history was made on Monday, April 29th when a public meeting in Frankton was told of new community plans to exclude Queenstown airport from the future development of the district.
The plan is bold, and it may or may not be the right plan, but most importantly it shows that the conversation has so far been led by the QLDC and the Queenstown Airport Corporation. There's been a significant lack of information and options so far from both of those sources.
Many of us are suffering from "survey fatigue". We just want the facts and the options in plain language, with no spin or pre-determined outcomes. Wanaka and Queenstown airports are after all owned by us, the ratepayers ... at least we own 75% of them after a very controversial deal in July, 2010 to sell 25% to Auckland airport, without any community consultation.
Crux has written extensively about Queenstown and Wanaka airports in the past, but we have had trouble getting information from the Queenstown Airport Corporation. When Mayor Jim Boult recently protested at "misinformation" being spread about the planned expansion of Wanaka airport to "London Heathrow" proportions, Crux asked the Airport Corporation for clarification. Their reply told us nothing new - so much for media trying to do our job.
The logical response to all of this is for a new, independent process that is unbiased, inclusive and transparent. Crux has partnered with the world's leading provider of participatory democracy services - ethelo.org - to produce a combined campaign of education, information and decision making. Crux will publish stories and information from every side of this debate, and then we will use Ethelo to capture our community views and hold the decision makers to account based on turning those community views into reality.
What is special about Ethelo is that is does not measure responses in a yes/no binary way. Ethelo reflects the real world where compromises are necessary and where hundreds of different options can be distilled into a clear outcome where, say, 65% of us will be happy with the outcome. Yes/No polls just divide people. Frequent "engagement" surveys, based on limited "official" information, with no clear, independent outcome that reflects a genuine community view are a waste of time and a waste of ratepayers money. We are seeing too many of them and many of us are, as a result, feeling less and less able to influence actual decisions being made on our behalf.
So, please bookmark this page. it is where all of the Crux coverage of the airport options will appear, including, we hope, much more in the way of hard facts from the Queenstown Airport Corporation about the future plans for Queenstown and Wanaka airport. We also will be hosting a much broader debate about sharing the tourist load, and the tourist dollar, across the wider region. Plus of course we need to talk about economic diversification away from tourism to reduce risk and increase productivity. The airport debate epitomises all of these bigger issues and everything is connected.
The next stage is the man decision making phase of the Crux/Ethelo airport project. That is complex and carries some significant cost. Crux has proposed that QLDC and the Queenstown Airport Corporation fund this project - hopeflly they will agree.
The first step is to have your say .... it's free and confidential. Here's the link.