Civil Aviation Bill (2nd Reading)

The Civil Aviation Bill is having its second reading in Parliament at the moment. There have been ten speakers so far, with videos of their speeches here. Much of what was discussed is not of direct relevance to the Quiet Sky Waiheke campaign, however, there have been some speeches of direct relevance, which are described below:

Chlöe Swarbrick of the Green Party (video 6) spoke about the gaps between the Resource Management Act and the Civil Aviation Bill and the need to include a provision in the new Bill that requires the Minister of Transport to set rules around the effects of noise on communities. She gave a shout-out to Quiet Sky Waiheke and Quiet Sky Waitematā – and to the Waiheke, Waitematā, and Aotea Great Barrier Local Boards – for the work they’ve been doing to try to reduce the impacts on those communities, from private aircraft use, in the context of insufficient existing rules. We haven’t pulled out any quotes as it’s worth listening to her whole seven-minute speech. We hope that the Committee of the whole House takes on board the Green Party’s Supplementary Order Papers (which are proposed wording changes to the Parliamentary Bill).

Simon Court of the ACT Party (video 7) said that the bill in its current form avoids adding “all those crazy different things to the mix like saving us from climate change or some other social engineering concept…fortunately those in the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Authority were able to resist the woke climate dogma advocated by the current Minister of Transport and stick to their knitting…instead of trotting out, wheeling out, climate fairies, climate alarmism”. He also opposed the Green Party’s SOPs, saying “The Green Party showed how much they loathe success and envy wealth with their proposal to target helicopter movements and operators delivering people to places like Waiheke Island” and made clear that “ACT’s concerns about this bill have always been to express the concerns of those who operate the aviation sector, who’ve made investments in plant and equipment, in aircraft, in operations…”

Helen White of the Labour Party (video 8) said that “we had some fantastic submitters on this bill…who told us about things like helicopters”. Quiet Sky Waiheke submitted, the Waiheke Local Board submitted, and both spoke to the select committee. Helen continued by saying that she did “definitely reject the idea that those people are…worried about envy. They’re worried obviously about their own communities. Some of those things fitted within the scheme of the bill. Some will need to be pursued outside of it”.

If helicopter noise impacts on communities are not eventually covered within this bill, then we’re sure we will be able to count on Helen White to advocate for their better regulation within the Natural and Built Environment Bill, which is also on the Order Paper of Parliamentary business, as the proposed replacement of the Resource Management Act. Quiet Sky Waiheke have already written to the Hon David Parker, Minister for the Environment, who is the sponsor of that Bill, seeking further information about how it will address the current gap between the RMA and Civil Aviation Act. It does not appear to do that upon initial reading, however the Minister did in fact write to Auckland Council seeking their advice on this exact matter (and such advice was provided), as was discussed during a Planning Committee meeting.

Radio New Zealand has also written about the legislative gap between the RMA-derived plan rules and the Civil Aviation Act and about the risk that the replacement bill could even reduce councils’ ability to deal with the nuisance effects of helicopter overflying (as Phil Goff explained to Minister Parker).

NB there are three further speeches to come, and then the Bill will progress to the committee of the whole House, where the Green Party’s proposed amendments will be discussed further.