Wellington commits funding to runway extension

Councillors in the New Zealand city of Wellington have given the go-ahead for further work on the proposal to extend the airport runway. A majority of councillors approved the proposal to commit NZ$90m (£42.5m) towards the runway extension which, if built, would enable long-haul international flights to access Wellington.

Wellington’s deputy mayor Justin Lester said that the decision was a vote of confidence in the runway proposal – but it stressed that the business case for the runway must still “stack up”.

“We have the support of the entire Wellington region and strong indications of support from the North Island and upper South Island councils,” he said. “Middle New Zealand recognises the significant potential benefits to their economies and would like to see direct international flights into the city.”

Councillor Jo Coughlan, who chairs the council’s economic growth committee, added: “There are some big challenges for us in terms of progress toward the extension – not the least the funding – but I’m glad that the majority of my colleagues have backed further work on the runway proposal to keep this project alive.”