Last month the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce was trumpeting that it had surveyed its members and said more than 70% of them want to keep Kāpiti Airport open. What the Chamber didn’t explain was that just 61 of their more than 300 members completed the survey. That’s 20% of their members or just 1 per cent of the 5,385 businesses on the Kapiti Coast1.
And what they didn’t share in their media release were the full results. Those showed that of 57 respondents, almost 37% only use the airport once or twice a year, and 26% use it every three to six months. Just 7% use it weekly or even monthly.
“But perhaps the most telling was that nearly 40% of respondents had decreased their use of the airport,” Kāpiti Coast Airport chief executive Chris Simpson says.
“While a sample size as small as 61 people is, at best, unreliable, in this case it reflects what I see at the airport every day – that very few Kāpiti Coasters are using the airport. The community is simply not supporting it and they need to understand that we simply cannot keep an airport running if people use it once or twice a year.”
Another question the Chamber didn’t outline in their media release was that more than 62% of respondents said their business either did not benefit from having a local operational airport or they were unsure if it did.
“Kāpiti Coast Airport is actually a member of the Kāpiti Chamber of Commerce. Each time the Chamber has moved to survey its members or speak about our business in the media, they have never reached out to us first to understand the issues we are grappling with,” Kāpiti Coast Airport chief executive Chris Simpson said.
“It’s a strange and deeply disappointing way to treat a member of their Chamber. It’s also incredibly short-sighted not to engage with us to understand the bigger picture here.”
The Airport website www.kapiticoastairport.co.nz
We’re completing an analysis article on the whole Airport issue and will post it soon. —Eds