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Aerodrome runway extension scrapped for now

Masterton District Council [MDC] has unanimously voted to go ahead with its $17m project to upgrade Hood Aerodrome, but the runway will no longer be extended beyond its current length.

In 2020, Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a $10m investment for a “shovel-ready” airfield upgrade, with MDC contributing $7m.

The project was to develop the Hood Masterplan, then improve lighting, water, and power on-site, widen and extend the runway, buy strategic land, divert Manaia Rd, extend the taxiway and apron, and upgrade the airfield’s Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] certification. But yesterday, MDC voted to reduce the project’s scope to stay within the $17m budget.

Project manager Laura MacLean said inflation has increased construction costs, so the original budget is inadequate. Reducing the scope means MDC can still take the $10m of government money, upgrade infrastructure for hangars, progress the Masterplan, and stay within budget.

By December 2025, MDC is now planning to upgrade the water and electrical infrastructure, resurface and widen the runway, replace lighting and fencing, and support the airfield to meet its CAA Qualification Certification. But it will no longer buy more land, divert Manaia Rd, and extend the runway beyond its current length.

To date, $3m has been spent on the project, including buying 63 Manaia Rd, which will no longer be utilised for the current project.

The reduced-scope project will delay parts of the Masterplan; MDC is likely to clarify its next steps in its 2024 Long-Term Plan.

Councillor Tom Hullena said upgrading the airfield has huge potential.

“I’m conscious as a district council that we have several big projects on the go, especially with roading and infrastructure,” he said.

“If we approve this initiative in the Long Term Plan, we need to be discerning with other projects.”


  1. My son and I have had to fly out on this run way in the Life flight plane, twice so far.
    Personally, being on that flight I can imagine how annoying it must be for the pilot having to turn around to get enough speed and distance to ascend into the air, especially if it is an emergency and critical situations.

  2. The airport benefits all 3 district councils, so if we had a wairarapa council government would probably help more.

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Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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