Two Local Politicians Surprised By Mayor’s Move Over Airport

“News that Kapiti Coast District Council is supporting the return of Paraparaumu Airport land to its ancestral owners comes as a surprise,” say Guy Burns (Deputy Chair Paraparaumu Raumati Community Board) and Councillor Bernie Randall.

Cr Bernie Randall

In October last year Mayor Gurunathan was reported as saying he was not concerned about the future of the airport and the purchase by NZPropCo Ltd was a vote of confidence in the district.

Guy Burns

A week is a long time in politics and now KCDC have passed a resolution, moved by the Mayor, supporting returning airport land to the original owners—from whom it was taken under the Public Works Act in 1939.

Impassioned plea

This resolution came after an impassioned plea by descendants of the original owners (27 August 2020) to Councillors that they back their efforts seeking the return of the land to public ownership and for keep the airport operating

In April, we warned that the airport was in danger of being sold.

Recent murmurings by current owner NZPropCo about safety and economic viability issues seems a prelude to potential closure.

NZPropCo is out to make money and a closed airport developed into residential and commercial sections is worth millions more than its current status.

Supporting original owners

We support the return of the airport to the original owners. The decision in 1995 to sell the airport to a property speculator was a travesty of justice and contrary to the Public Works Act.

Buying the airport is not an option for Kapiti Coast District Council and they need to spend their energy lobbying central government to right the wrongs of the past.

Most locals appreciate the open space of the airport and see it as part of the distinct character of central Kapiti.

We caution KCDC not to get directly involved in some sort of think big project. It’s up the central government to sort out the mess they created when they sold the airport in 1995 to the highest bidder.”

The present Kapiti mayor is well known for saying things that sound good in attempts to salvage his popularity, regardless of whether they are the opposite of what he has said previously or the opposite of what he intends to do.

We have yet to hear how much buying the airport by either KCDC would cost Ratepayers or by the central government as the same cost to taxpayers. I’ve heard that NZPropCo paid $167 million for it, and any successful negotiation for purchase would involve a substantial sum.

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