Kāpiti residents don't want Kāpiti Coast Airport to close and believe the Government should step in before any possible closure, according to a poll commissioned by Save Kāpiti Airport group.
The poll conducted by Community Engagement Limited has found 85 per cent of residents oppose an airport closure and 83 per cent also believe the Government should step in and stop any proposed closure.
Templeton Group, who own Kāpiti Coast Airport, as part of the wider NZPropCo, are looking at all options regarding the ongoing operation of the airport.
They only acquired the airport late last year as part of a portfolio sale by previous owner Todd Property Group, and have emphasised that no decision had been made to close the airport but all options for the airport's future are being reviewed.
Save Kāpiti Airport are campaigning to keep the airport open and conducted the poll to better understand the community's views on the airport and its role in the wider region.
Spokesman Tim Costley believes the results send a strong message to Templeton Group.
"Our community does not want the airport to close with an overwhelming 87 per cent saying the issue is important to them. It's time Templeton began listening to the community."
The poll also found 78.1 per cent of residents agree or strongly agree the Kāpiti Coast Airport is an important economic asset for the community, 82.3 per cent agree or strongly agree the Kāpiti Coast Airport is vital for Civil Defence in case of a major earthquake in the Wellington region and 80.7 per cent agree Kāpiti Coast Airport is a vital lifeline for medical emergencies.
These poll results align with a survey the Kāpiti Coast District Council did in December last year which found 87 per cent of respondents agreed it is important to have a working or operational airport in Kāpiti and 96 per cent agreed Kāpiti Coast Airport is an important strategic asset for the district.
Costley said it's clear the community wants to save the airport and believes it's time for local Members of Parliament, and the Government to begin listening to the communities they serve.
"Although they have not supported the airport until now, it's time for the MPs to start listening to the community they represent.
"Our community is in a David vs Goliath battle.
"We're up against international finance and interests, and property developers who appear more interested in profits than people.
"Kāpiti does not want to lose its airport.
"Collectively we all agree it's an important asset, any way you look at it.
"The airport sits at the heart of Kāpiti.
"We also need our government to pay this issue the attention it deserves.
"Once the airport is gone, we won't get it back."
In response, a joint statement from Mana MP Barbara Edmonds and Ōtaki MP Terisa Ngobi said, "Ultimately it is up to local hapu as to whether they are happy to consider anything other than an airport as they also have a current Treaty claim on this land.
"It is clear that there are long-held grievances about the loss of this land since it was sold by the National Government in 1995.
"I understand that the current commercial owners are in talks with hapu about the future use of the land.
"Our advice to the Save Kāpiti Airport group is to engage with the hapu and the current commercial owners."
They also noted comments made by Minister for Treaty Settlements Andrew Little in August last year who said it was possible for land to be returned after it was acquired under the Public Works Act, but the case of the Kāpiti airport land was complicated.
"The issue is complicated by the length of time since the Crown's acquisition, and whether there are any eligible successors of the original owners," he said.
"These issues were the subject of the Waitangi Tribunal's inquiry into these issues, and the tribunal has yet to release its report.
"There are complex issues surrounding the disposal of the Crown's interests in the airport land and its current status."
Edmonds said her office has had correspondence from the Kāpiti Districts Aero Club and "a very small amount of correspondence from individual residents" while Ngobi has had 11 emails from residents in her electorate concerning the airport.
The Save Kāpiti Airport poll has 897 responses, was conducted between March 5-8 and has a margin of error of +/-3.26 per cent.