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Councillors call on Wellington Airport to support region’s climate goals in future expansion plans

Speaking to their submission on Wellington International Airport Ltd’s expansion proposal, Councillors Thomas Nash and Roger Blakeley are calling on the airport to support Wellington’s climate goals and include public and active transport in any plans it makes for the future.

“Shifting to bus and train travel reduces our emissions as a region and as a city and it’s critical that we build public transport into all our plans for infrastructure and development, including at the airport," says chair of Greater Wellington's Transport Committee Roger Blakeley.

The councillors' submission proposed a number of conditions to help support climate goals, including free and frequent access to the airport precinct for Metlink public transport buses so that Metlink can provide a convenient, direct and affordable public transport service.

They also asked that the airport provide for the expansion of public transport services bringing more people directly to the departures and arrivals areas of the airport, including space for an improved interchange for express bus services. This interchange should provide room for public transport services to expand in the future.

The submission suggested that a proportion of revenue from car parking and vehicle access to the airport be levied to contribute to improving active and public transport travel options to the airport. It also asked for a limit to the number of private car parking spaces within the airport precinct at all times.

“To meet Wellington’s climate goals it’s imperative that public transport has free, frequent and prominent access right to the airport door,” says Thomas Nash, chair of Greater Wellington's Climate Committee.

“Expansion is likely to mean less green space around the airport and more car traffic – a double whammy against the environment. We need to avoid that by prioritising public and active transport in any development plans. We have clearly laid out in our submission on how this can be done and it's up to the airport to listen and take action now.”

In addition to this future-focused councillor-led submission, Greater Wellington is currently working with Wellington International Airport Ltd on a new airport service to replace the Airport Flyer.  With NZ Bus ending its commercially operated Airport Flyer service in November 2020 the region’s public transport users have been left with no direct access to the airport.

The public can get its say on the new service as part of the draft Wellington Regional Public Transport Plan 2021-31 which is open for consultation until March 19.

Following consultation Metlink will work with communities in the Hutt Valley and Porirua, as well as all other parts of Greater Wellington, to ensure that regional connectivity is maintained and enhanced before the service takes flight. 

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