NZ Airports chief executive, Kevin Ward, said the NZ$5.87 million funding ($5m from the Provincial Growth Fund and $870,000 from central Government) in support of a Taupō Airport upgrade was very welcome and positive news as the sector faces new headwinds and uncertainty.
“This Taupō funding follows other strategic support from the government for airports including Bay of Islands, Gisborne, Napier and Invercargill," said Ward.
"It is recognition of the role that our airports play in delivering connectivity that our regions need to succeed and be resilient in today’s world.”
Ward notes that the majority of New Zealand’s airports like Taupō are council-owned, returning value to their cities, towns and regions – and providing vital connections for communities.
“The benefits of having a local airport straddle social as well as economic benefits," he enthuses.
"Many also have vital roles in emergency responses and crisis recovery. We thank the Minister and Government for recognising that with this announcement.
"Supporting airport upgrades creates jobs and boosts community confidence. Stable air connectivity links are particularly important for the success and stability of the business sector, with many flow on effects.
“Keeping people and places connected right now is what we need most as we look to boost domestic tourism. Managing tourism responsibly also involves dispersing growth around different regions. We need a strong and stable airport network to do that effectively."