Auckland Airport submits on the Commerce Amendment Bill

29 May 2008

Auckland Airport has today submitted that the proposed regime on airport pricing will put much needed capital investment at risk if passed in its current form.

The Airport's position was part of its submission to the Commerce Select Committee on the Commerce Amendment Bill.

"We certainly support the Bill's objective of promoting investment and we have no problem with enhanced information disclosure," said Airport Chief Executive Don Huse after his appearance before the Select Committee.

"While the Bill is well intentioned, particularly for electricity lines companies, we are concerned that an unintended consequence is to create a more uncertain investment environment for airports by adding new and unclear layers of regulatory decision-making powers.

"Auckland Airport certainly wants to continue its strong capital programme. A world class airport is critical to accelerating the transformation of New Zealand into a more dynamic economy.

"Moreover, we believe the current regime under the Airport Authorities Act has worked well as evidenced by the hundreds of millions of dollars of investment undertaken, not only by Auckland Airport, but by the country's other international airports as well over the last decade.

"Indeed, compared with many parts of the economy, the country's exporters, importers, visitors and domestic travellers are very well served by our airport infrastructure.

"The Bill in effect makes the decision-making process on major investments much more difficult for airports because the outcome of major investment decisions under the proposed regime will be more uncertain.

"However, we are keen to work constructively with the Committee to ensure the Bill is amended so that investment in airport infrastructure continues to keep pace with the needs of the economy.

"We propose several amendments including:

  • Removing the requirement for the Commerce Commission to report to Ministers when airports set new prices as this gives broad discretion to the Commission.

  • Limiting regulation to aeronautical charges only.

"Our proposed amendments are designed to ensure that the Bill maintains an aeronautical pricing regime which gives Auckland Airport confidence to continue to make critical long-term investments in a timely fashion for the good of the economy, while ensuring it is accountable to airport customers for its prices," said Don Huse.

For further information, please contact:

Don Huse
Chief Executive Officer
Auckland International Airport Limited
Mob: +64 (0) 21 612 465

Check out the airport's submission.