Protect Wānaka’s animation that dropped onto social media on December 27 has scored a hit, according to Mark Sinclair from Protect Wānaka.
“We're delighted with the results of this animation — and grateful for Ian Taylor's generosity in creating it for us at no cost. We wanted to stimulate conversation about the future of Wanaka, and it has certainly done that. The video has featured prominently on high traffic websites of TV3 and TVNZ, as well as Stuff and the Otago Daily Times — and it is likely to have had many thousands of views there,” he said.
On Protect Wānaka’s Facebook page, the animation only received a mild 16 comments with 90 shares and 72 emoji responses. On TV3, the item received 102 comments and 16 shares. However, the Protect Wānaka website registered 4500 views of the animation in 10 days.
TV3 coverage included commentary on the lack of infrastructure and the idea of taxing tourists to pay for it without mentioning the fact the visitor accommodation levy, which was resoundingly approved by referendum last year, is exactly that.
Nonetheless, Sinclair added, “There has been a steady flow of comments and shares online, and we've had hundreds of new sign ups to WSG so far as a result,” said Sinclair.
“We'll continue to share the video widely, and also have plans to either update it or create follow up videos as new information emerges.”
In response to the animation, Sara Irvine, general manager corporate and community affairs said, “Given that QAC has not at any time put out a formal proposal or plan for the future development of Wanaka Airport, the video released recently is only based on WSG’s [Protect Wānaka’s] speculation.”
Mayor Jim Boult was not impressed with the animation. “Statements such as the Council effectively selling the airport to QAC are blatantly untrue. Equally, declaring that ‘in the next few years Wānaka’s airport is likely to become much bigger than Queenstown’s is now’ demonstrates a complete lack of understanding about the complexity involved or time required to set up any sort of airport operating scheduled commercial flights – large or small,” said Mayor Boult. “This unfounded assertion doesn’t even begin to consider any airline’s readiness to introduce flights which doesn’t happen overnight...The reality is that it takes years of blood sweat and tears to convince an airline of the viability of a new route and more years to plan for its introduction.”
“...I have previously responded to the WSG’s interpretation of the investment required which is blown out of proportion and doesn’t consider upfront investment versus ongoing reinvestment funded through the flights themselves, or the spend on non-aeronautical development.
“Finally, this animation claims to reflect the plans for Wānaka Airport. That in itself is odd, as I can confirm such plans do not exist. There is no secret masterplan waiting to be unleashed.
“The one thing that I can and will confirm from this animation is the statement that everyone needs to get involved in this discussion and help inform the future direction for the Wānaka Airport. We have heard loud and clear from the WSG. But when I visit Wānaka, as I do frequently, I am constantly told that others have a different perspective. In the words of one 40-plus-year resident who I recently spoke to: ‘I’d love to get on a plane here and fly direct to Auckland to see my grandchildren’. So my ask is that all voices out there get involved in this discussion. I would encourage everyone to participate in the engagement as part of the economic and social impact assessments, and when QAC do actually release a draft masterplan with options for the future of Wanaka Airport – let’s all have a well-informed and reasoned debate about facts.”