BREAKING Christchurch Airport hits pause button on Tarras proposal

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 27, 2024 |

A concept image of the terminal at the proposed Tarras Airport. Photo: Supplied

[Tuesday Feb 27 | 20:40]

Christchurch Airport has hit the pause button on plans to construct an airport in the Central Otago settlement of Tarras.

The airport revealed a series of documents last August detailing the project’s plans.

While it received some support, Queenstown Airport CEO Glen Sowry expressed concerns in October, questioning the necessity of another airport in the South Island.

Sowry criticised the expenditure involved in the project saying “Christchurch Airport is spending tens of millions of dollars just to ‘explore a problem’ with no fixed outcome in sight. In my view, it is pitching a solution in search of a problem.”

On Monday Christchurch Airport’s Chief Executive, Justin Watson communicated to Christchurch City Holdings Limited (CCHL), the investment arm of Christchurch City Council, the decision to delay further action.

In his letter, Watson mentioned the need for additional time to assess the project’s impacts and to consult with both local and national stakeholders.

This decision follows consideration of the Government’s Infrastructure Resilience Plan and the repeal of the Resource Management Act.

Chris Lynch Media understands on Monday, the Christchurch Airport Board opted to slow the momentum on the Central Otago airport project, indicating a shift towards a more “cautious approach.”

It is understood the parties have agreed against allocating “significant capital” to further explorations of the new airport in the short term.

Glyn Lewers, the Mayor of Queenstown Lakes District, spoke to Chris Lynch Media on Tuesday night, about the decision, saying the responsibility ultimately falls on Christchurch, given its implications for the city’s ratepayers.

“At the end of the day, I’m looking after my own district, and we have an airport, so I’m always looking at things through that lens and making sure we’re looking after our own first.”

Lewers said the proposal generated polarising views.

Christchurch Airport has been approached for comment.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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