Security-focused New Zealand airports are critical to the success of next year’s Rugby World Cup, Associate Transport Minister Nathan Guy says.
Speaking at the annual NZ Airports Association annual conference at Queenstown’s Millennium Hotel yesterday, he told aviation industry delegates that the Government’s plans to boost airport security measures for the country’s biggest-ever sporting event are progressing well.
About 85,000 visitors – mostly high-income earners from Australia and the United Kingdom – are expected to converge on NZ for the event.
“Many tourists will be passing through our smaller regional airports as well as the major terminals as they follow their teams in 13 different venues,” Guy says.
He wants airports to do their bit to ensure visiting teams and supporters have an “unforgettable experience”.
“Part of creating that experience will be making sure our airport security systems are up to scratch, while at the same time ensuring that security concerns aren’t a barrier to people enjoying their travels here.”
The Ministry of Transport is currently setting up security committees at the 21 airports around the country that don’t have them already, he says.
“We see these committees playing a major role in developing high-quality security at airports, with all stakeholders working together to improve awareness at airports.”
Security committees are already in place at Nelson, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Whangarei, Hawkes Bay, Invercargill, Blenheim and Gisborne airports.
Also at the conference was mayor-elect Vanessa van Uden, whose first official duty since being voted in was to open proceedings.
“I have to admit that there’s a certain irony in the fact that after months of not being allowed to talk about airports my first official duty as mayor of QLD is one where I have to,” she jokes.
She finished her speech with a jab at the controversial share sale of Queenstown Airport to Auckland International Airport: “Just one wee word to the wise. If you’re thinking of purchasing a substantial souvenir to take home with you, would you come and see me please because it’s probably better that this time we ask the community how they feel about it first.”