WDC reviewing airport share

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Waikato District Council, one of five local government shareholders in the Hamilton Airport, has signalled it wants to review its stake in the company as it eyes development in the north.

In its recently adopted draft long-term plan, the council said a review of its airport ownership would examine whether the council was getting a fair return on its investment.

It argues changes to its northern boundary and the new Waikato Expressway “means for a lot of Waikato residents it’s quicker to get to the Auckland airport.”

Hamilton City has the largest airport stake at 50 per cent while Waikato, Waipa, and Matamata-Piako districts each hold 15.625 per cent. Otorohanga District Council holds 3.125 per cent of the shares.

Waikato District Mayor Allan Sanson told the Waikato Times the airport was a strategic asset for the region but not necessarily for councils.

“We just happen to be the owners at the moment,” Mr Sanson said.

“Council over time acquires certain things as time goes by but you’ve got to wonder why do we own it now. We’re not saying we’re going to sell it because to be honest there are no buyers at the moment to my knowledge … but you’ve got to ask these questions to get feedback.”

Mr Sanson said the ownership review had not been discussed with other councils.

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