INDEPENDENT NEWS

Elaine West - Open Letter Regarding Airport Shares

Published: Wed 25 Jul 2007 12:12 AM
To: Rt Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister (Labour Party)
John Key, (National Party)
Hon Jim Anderton (Progressive Party)
Rt Hon Winston Peters (New Zealand First)
Jeanette Fitzimmons, (Green Party), Russel Norman, (Green Party)
Dr Pita Sharples, (Maori Party), Tariana Turia, (Maori Party)
Peter Dunne, (United Future)
Rodney Hide, (ACT New Zealand)
To: Auckland City Mayor (Dick Hubbard), Auckland City Councillors
Manukau City Mayor (Sir Barry Curtis), Manukau City Councillorsends
To: Interested parties / media
From: Elaine West (Auckland City Mayoral Candidate)
Dear Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, ACC/MCC: Mayors and Councillors
Open Letter - To Introduce Legislation to Protect Strategic Assets incl. Auckland Airports
It is with a sense of urgency that I write to each of you with regard to the sale of Auckland International Airport Ltd shares.
Without doubt, New Zealand's ports - air and harbour - are viewed by the people as strategic assets that must stay within the ownership and control of the New Zealand public.
The Auckland International Airport -
• was set up by New Zealand taxpayers to benefit all New Zealanders,
• is the primary gateway to the nation,
• has clear economic significance,
• is a critical national communications asset,
• and has inherent value as a tool for civil emergency or civil defence.
Yet public ownership in the nation's strategic assets - including Auckland International Airport - is constantly put at risk by the changing face of both national and local body politics. For instance, under John Banks' leadership, the Auckland City Council sold half - that is 12.5% - of ACC's shares in AIAL despite more than 75% of public submissions opposing such a sale.
The willingness to sell majority shareholdings by the present Board of Director of AIAL has led to a stampede of overseas corporations rushing to buy, for example: Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, the Macquaries Group, the Canadian Pension Plan and Australia Pacific Airports Corporation.
Since the 1980s, when SOE's were set up and as state assets were privatised, history shows that repatriated profit is the key driver when overseas owners invest in New Zealand strategic assets - to the detriment of the people of the nation.
This request goes to the Prime Minister, to Members of Parliament and to the above mentioned local bodies as representatives of the people and in order to protect the best interests of the people to:
• support the immediate introduction of legislation to ensure that national strategic assets including harbour ports and air ports - such as Auckland International Airport - remain in New Zealand public ownership and control in perpetuity.
Yours faithfully
Elaine A J West

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