Proposed airport site 'would destroy us'

John Harris
John Harris
Maori Point, near Tarras, is the place where the jet airliners travelling into Queenstown Airport throttle back for their descent.

John Harris and Marilyn Duxson, of Maori Point Wines, have no problem with that.

But, they do not welcome the idea that one day those planes might land where their 6.5ha of grapes are growing.

Maori Point and the flat land at Tarras have been suggested by a Queenstown group as a possible location for a new international airport, replacing Queenstown Airport.

Formerly from Dunedin, Mr Harris and Ms Duxson have spent 20 years turning a ''useless'' piece of land of ''dust and rabbits'' into a boutique vineyard and winery destined to be handed on to grandchildren.

Mr Harris said the idea for an airport at Maori Point had been around for a couple of years.

''I think people have just been looking for large open spaces and this is one of the more obvious ones for people who don't like the noise of the airport in their own backyard.''

Mr Harris said ''from a selfish perspective it would destroy us''.

He believed the best option was for Wanaka Airport to be expanded to take some of the traffic from Queenstown Airport.

Other discussion yesterday about airport locations included reviving the idea of a Lumsden Airport.

By coincidence, Mr Harris' neighbour at Maori Point is retired judge Shonagh Kenderdine who presided over a 1994 Planning Tribunal appeal that rejected the Lumsden proposal.

In her decision, Judge Kenderdine accepted the site, on farmland near Lumsden, was ''physically suited'' for an international airport, but ruled it out because of the noise and visual effect.

Her son, Duncan Kenderdine, of Wellington, said he was ''a little bemused'' a new international airport was being discussed for where the family had a house at Maori Point.

Members of the public yesterday suggested airport sites on the top of Queenstown Hill, at Alexandra, Cromwell and Kingston. Others suggested more use be made of Dunedin and Invercargill Airports.



I said yesterday in the other article, how I flew all around Central doing phantom approaches. The only possible site was parallel to and inbetween SH8 & the Clutha River, using Lake Dunstan as an approach. This would have to angle carefully to head towards Lindis Valley and avoid Lindis Peak. That could be tight for jets. It is prone to fog.
This is opposite Lindis Crossing, immediately north of Maori Point Rd (not over the winery) but have a runway end on Bells Lane (SH8A the link between Tarras & Wanaka). It would run down through Parcells property to Tussock Contracting taking in Spiers Holdings and the farms of Janefield, Maryland & Waimarama.
It would require much property purchases & turn the peaceful valley into a city. It is still over an hour to Queenstown (85kms) putting more buses through the Kawarau Gorge. And a bigger airport would mean bigger or more planes so increase traffic volumes enormously.
And then the cost = well over a billion dollars ?2.
I still say without further cost, Invercargill = a 2 hour bus trip on a goodish road (except Devils Staircase) or a 20 min propeller flight to a reduced quieter Frankton airport is the answer. Most go to Milford anyway

Here's a crazy idea, just stop increasing the number of flights into the region. There are too many tourists already, that only feed the rich and makes it too expensive for the poor. Of course there is the additional damage that tourism does to the environment.