Kāpiti Coast District Council has agreed to subsidise a private airline to start running a service between Paraparaumu and Auckland in a unanimous vote.

Air Chathams has been in negotiations with the council for several months after Air New Zealand stopped flying the route.

In a meeting today, councillors voted to provide funding to help Air Chathams start its service from the airport.

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Council would provide a minimum of $150,000 over the next three years for marketing, but chief executive Wayne Maxwell would be negotiating further potential funding, mayor K Gurunathan said.

He would not go further into what type of funding could be provided, as it was still under discussion with the airline.

"I'm confident we can get this across the table," he said.

"I'm absolutely confident we're going to do this."

Aside from one committee board chairperson who was not present at the meeting, and councillor David Scott, who gave his apologies for not attending, everyone voted for the funding to go ahead.

The decision to do so has not gone down well with everyone.

Raumati and Paraparaumu Community Board deputy chairman Guy Burns was "totally aghast" that council was considering subsidising the airline.

"Councils should just stick with the core services," Burns said earlier this week.


"History has shown the folly of local government meddling in activities they have no expertise or mandate to. As recently as 2012, KCDC lost over one million dollars in a failed investment with Clean Tech Park in Otaki.

"Council must stick to the knitting of providing basic services to ratepayers and the best way they can support any business is to reduce red tape and cumbersome compliance requirements."

Mayor Gurunathan said council was trying to provide an asset for the community.

A Colmar Brunton survey released on Friday showed 91 per cent of residents supported the arrangement to have the service continue, he said.

"Mr Guy Burns would be a minority."

Taxpayers' Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke also spoke out against the decision.

"This is a classic case of corporate welfare. The council has turned Air Chathams, a private, profitable business, into a charity case," Houlbrooke said.

"Regular flyers like councillors and Chamber of Commerce members will benefit, but it will be at the expense of the general Kāpiti ratepayer, who is far less likely to get their money's worth from these flights.

"Air New Zealand clearly decided the airline was too expensive to maintain, but apparently good business sense goes out the window when it's the council spending ratepayer money."