Lavery initially claimed that he had received a six-page report on the funding request written by “my staff”, before acknowledging that the report was actually written by Wellington Airport which had “different interests” to the council.
The council commissioned no work of its own to review the airport’s claims, but could have, Lavery said.
“We could have done that, if we’d felt uncomfortable with it. But we didn’t, so we didn’t. And that’s not uncommon.”
Here we get to the heart of the problem. The Council seems subservient to the airport company which it parts owns. The airport company proposes ratepayers hand over $8 million to Singapore Air to fly to Wellington, and our Council just says “yes sir” without any independent analysis.
One solution is that the Council should sell its share in the airport. Then it would treat the airport like any other company that comes to it wanting subsidies.
The key thing is that what is good for the airport is not necessarily good for Wellington and ratepayers. It may be, but the Council should independently assess this.