Tarras International Airport
July 27 2020 by Scott Stevens
Tarras International Airport
Tarras International Airport. Has a nice ring to it, as long as you’re not from Tarras. On the face of it the idea sounds preposterous. But then think again and factor in the self-centred arrogance of people from Queenstown and Wanaka. We think we can stop growth into our district. Or at least some of us do.
The fact is we can control the rate of growth at best. Covid has proven to be a pretty good controller of tourism growth, but before that and once the world recovers, our control mechanism is a 75.1% stake in Queenstown Airport Corporation. If the community wish to limit flights into Queenstown, and in Wanaka’s case stop commercial flights altogether, then that is what the Councillors voted onto QLDC will do. Basic politics- looking after the people who voted you in. But such a move has no effect on the demand. They will still come. By road.
By a road that last time I drove it was a most pitiful excuse for a state highway. The Kawarau Gorge is literally hanging on to a crumbling cliff face and will disappear into the river with just the smallest act of nature. But they will find a way. They always do. And do you think the Christchurch City Council will give a hoot how many tourists they pump into Queenstown and Wanaka once their Tarras airport is operational in 20-30-40-50 years’ time?
So, we are doomed to be what we have always been. The best little alpine tourism hub the Southern Hemisphere has ever seen. Which brings me to the really preposterous part of this Tarras airport debate, scuttling Queenstown Airport and selling it off for housing. Do the advocates for such lunacy have rocks in their heads, or do they simply not care for anything beyond their own peace and tranquillity. Don’t you worry about the rest of us who actually quite like what that airport does for our community. The connectivity to friends, family, business, and the world.
Hey, here’s an idea. Why don’t we enact a communist style compulsory relocation to Tarras for any person who signs a petition to shut down and sell for housing Queenstown Airport. I read in the ODT there is one staunch old farmer in Tarras who hasn’t sold to the Christchurch Airport mob yet. We could use his land and market it as Central Otago’s hotbed for folks who want to live in a fairyland surrounded by nothing more than their own self-importance. No noise other than Shrek the sheep baa-ing. No pesky tourists except for those looking for Shrek the sheep baa-ing.
Back in the real world, Queenstown Airport is fantastic. I am picking my folks up from there on Wednesday. It’s easy, it’s the lifeblood for any working person in the Wakatipu directly or indirectly. We shouldn’t care too much about the masses coming via the Kawarau Gorge. Supply and demand have a way of sorting things out. But we should not be forced to join them on an hour and half trip to Tarras every time we want to travel, for the sake of a peaceful cup of tea and afternoon nap in Kelvin Heights.