Wellington’s airport is one third owned by the City Council, God only knows why, and the balance by a substantial and successful investment entity.

The Council has just voted not to fund a required $76 million upgrading of a sea-wall.

For once they’ve done something sensible. Borrowing money has never been easier and cheaper which is what the airport company should do.

It’s not the role of Councils to act as de facto bankers.

Like many Councils Wellington’s is hyper-active at ratepayers expense in feel-good outlays. Meanwhile it faces a substantial cost in repairing its collapsing drainage system.

Through no fault of their own all aviation activities have taken a terrible beating from the pandemic. But that will be temporary plus being the capital, Wellington Airport is still fairly busy and its long term future is not in doubt. It will be a breeze for the company to raise the required money rather than put their hand in the public’s pocket.


I have little faith in the Wellington City Council to act sensibly. Flogging off half the library was dumb. Spending any money on a sea wall is equally as dumb. The airport needs to raise revenue to protect its own assets. The drains/sewage needs careful planning with the infrastructure of vital importance. Sometimes I think some of little Napoleons have s…t for brains. The bicycle riding mayor may not have been so awful with the latest gruppen in charge. God help us.

    How can spending money to maintain and extend the life of a seawall be considered dumb, or not sensible? That’s exactly what Councils’ jobs entail – keeping infrastructure working and protecting the grounds of the city from erosion and attack by the tides and weather. They’ll have to pay a third of it anyway, as one-third owners, and that’s possibly all they were asked for.

Good point SB. This decision is more likely driven by ideology than common sense though. Perhaps Infratil should propose a seawall with a rainbow painted on it…

    Hah! Call it a “cycleway” and keep the cost entirely off the books for the airport itself. That’s exactly what is happening with the Petone-Ngauranga railway erosion protection project. Far more people should have guessed this right from the start. That’s nearly twice the price of the airport sea wall upgrade.

Infratil have a similar shareholding relationship with Trustpower and the Port of Tauranga, where they have abusing the minority shareholder in Councils for decades.

The conclusion one can draw from this is the Crown/Council should always maintain a controlling stake in monopoly infrastructure; if they chose to continue being a shareholder.

The sad fact is the Crown/Councils do not attract the right people to manage business. They could if they had the right people at the top, but now that elections have become a popularity contest its not going to happen.

The current elected officials pure focus is on short term survival, at the expense of poor long term decisions and discipline which is essential to business survival.

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