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Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations

Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991.

The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security. The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ruling in favour of Neil Construction will not affect engine testing at Whenuapai, and this will ensure all aircraft operations can continue to be conducted safely.

“Make no mistake this is a last resort,” says Ron Mark. “This power should only be used when absolutely necessary, and the advice I have received is this is the case.”

“Undertaking engine testing and pre-flight tests is an integral part of the maintenance and operation of aircraft at Whenuapai and therefore is necessary for reasons of national security.”

“The aircraft concerned are based at Whenuapai and maintained there. If they are defective, you cannot fly them to another base to repair and test. This situation is dangerous, and I will not put aircrew or public safety at risk.”