Wigram - Pens to Paper, Lobby Gerry

, posted: 16-Oct-2008 19:59

With the inability of the Ombudsman to do anything regards the Christchurch City Council's decision to allow the wholesale carve up of Wigram Airfield for use as housing development and the eviction of the businesses on the airfield to allow for this, Denis Hampton has had it suggested to him by a prominent National party member (who I won't name because I don't want to cause potential problems) that it wouldn't be a bad idea at all to lobby the National Party, through Gerry Brownlee, to form a policy for National surrounding the retention of Wigram as an operational airfield should it win the general election.

Denis urges all that can to email, or write to Gerry Brownlee regarding this, and includes the following talking points.
  1. In April 1997 the Minister of Lands and Ngai Tahu agreed publically that Wigram would be kept for aviation purposes. 
  2. When Ngai Tahu gained the title to the property in June 1998 (1 year later) Ngai Tahu revised thier intentions to be that Wigram would be used for aviation for a limited time.
  3. In 2007 the Christchurch City Council stated that "aviation related businesses and activities have ceased, over time" at Wigram, and that if on even conducts a cursory examination of Wigram one will find that this statement is untrue, to the extent that it is nonsense.
  4. The present aviation businesses at Wigram will be with no choice but to move, probably far from Christchurch.
  5. The military specification sealed airstrip at Wigram which had potential for future domestic passenger transport use overflowing from Christchurch Airport, and emergency alternative for light aircraft, will be lost.
  6. The affect on the Air Force Museum will be serious in his opinion.
  7. A small survey of 81 people recently found that 78 of those asked wanted Wigram to remain for aviation not housing, and many were most passionate in this view.
  8. Interest in Wigram extends well beyond Christchurch, and in view of the thousands of Air Force personnel who served on or visited Wigram in it's historic past, this is not at all surprisng.
  9. A public assurance, that if National gained power, that Wigram would be kept for aviation purposes would be a vote winner.
Gerry Brownlee's email address is gerry dot brownlee national org nz (do the appropriate).

As for what National (or any government) could do, realistically not that much, but there has been a murmor in the past that Ngai Tahu would not be completely against the idea of selling what remains of Wigram back to the Crown.  And of course, being a strategic asset, it would not be a stretch to see it fall under some form of compulsory aquisition.

Other related posts:
So long old friend.
"Sky High" At Wigram
CEO of NZ Flying School (Wigram) standing for Electorate

Comment by Ted Packer, on 8-Nov-2008 16:07

Mr Sleeman ( James ) We spoke recently and you suggested that we contact Gerry Brownlee-- sorry to say no reply, the same with Jim Anderton.

However when I contacted New Zealand First they put me onto Steve Campbell who responded within minutes and I have great faith in him even though we only spoke for a few minutes.

It's great that we have people out there who can see the future and see the need to keep our airfield open for aviation--I cannot even try to guess how a new airfield could be attempted with all the hurdles that one would have to go through.

My two latest attempts with letters to the editor have not appeared so it seems The Press has a bias against our efforts with Wigram, as no other letters are ever printed either-- are they afraid of upsetting Ngai Tahu.

Strange that the Council can be in partership with them on their new office complex ( not urgent ) but not with a more important project that could be lost forever.

Thanks for your efforts.
Ted Packer.

Author's note by sleemanj, on 9-Nov-2008 01:03

It was good to Steve got some votes in the Wigram electorate, a hard electorate to battle in, and I think he was a bit of a late starter so any number of votes is good.

I hope that he does not get discouraged and we might see him standing again in 2011, by then Jim Anderton might have decided to retire (HAH!) and people could actually justify the effort and expense to mount a campaign.

I'm pretty sure the Press does indeed have a bias towards Ngai Tahu, I do not know the reasons, but it's been fairly evident in thier publishings on the matter.

I would not be at all surprised if the new deal with Ngai Tahu over the new council buildings and the Wigram situation are not linked.  You scratch our back, we'll scratch yours, kind of thing.

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James Sleeman
New Zealand

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