9 May: Three of NZ’s key climate & health advocacy groups – 350 Aotearoa, OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council, and Generation Zero – have come out strongly against a full or partial sale of Auckland Council’s airport shares. The organisations maintain that the proposed budget cuts are unnecessary, and say that borrowing can play a significant role in funding the crucial services the city needs. Mayor Wayne Brown’s original Budget proposal – currently being reconsidered – proposed selling the Auckland International Airport Ltd shares to meet an alleged $295m shortfall. Auckland Council currently owns an 18% stake in the airport.

350 Aotearoa campaigner Adam Currie says “Auckland Council selling Auckland airport – and surrendering the ability to force emissions reductions – is unacceptable in the midst of climate-induced storms that are threatening everything and everyone we love. Our public infrastructure should be for public good – not private profit. The partial privatisation of our public energy infrastructure has shown the long-term harm of privatisation of our crucial assets – Auckland council must not make the same mistake here.” 

“We oppose any full or partial sale of the airport, which will only make full privatisation more likely later down the road – and lose Auckland Council any future capital gains or dividends.  Selling Auckland council’s airport shares would be a generational mistake. There’s a better way, that doesn’t include cuts to our public services, or selling airport shares. Mayor Brown’s original proposal actually talked about the option of borrowing $100+ million. Now is the perfect time to increase borrowing so that we can invest in Auckland’s future.”

Dermot Coffey of OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council says “We strongly oppose the partial or full sale of the airport. Air transport related emissions are an increasingly important issue. Given how tightly linked they are with other sectors of the economy such as tourism, and given the absence of any realistic technological solutions within the timeframe needed, they will present one of the more difficult challenges for reduction. A fair and equitable solution will be much easier to achieve if as much public control as possible is maintained over our airports.” 

Generation Zero’s Yasmin Kidd says “Auckland Council should ensure protection of this strategic asset. Auckland Council is a public entity that provides public services, and having shares in Auckland International Airport is critical in serving Auckland communities. The airport sale is short term thinking that does not align with Auckland’s long term goals.”

350 Aotearoa is the New Zealand, 8000-supporter-strong arm of the international climate movement 350.org, which aims to unite the world around climate change solutions.

OraTaiao: NZ Climate and Health Council is part of a worldwide movement of health professionals and health organisations urgently focusing on the health challenges of climate change and the health opportunities of climate action.

Generation Zero is a nonpartisan, youth-led climate organisation that champions solutions towards a thriving, carbon-neutral Aotearoa. They are the architects of the campaign & policy that became the ‘Zero Carbon Act’.