Central Otago locals outraged at lack of consultation over proposed airport

Locals in a small Central Otago town are outraged they weren't consulted before a patch of land was bought to build a proposed airport.

Christchurch Airport purchased a 750-hectare block of land near Tarras, and the current concept is to build a 2.2 kilometre-long jet-capable runway.

More than 100 locals attended an urgent community meeting on Wednesday evening and vented their frustrations at the plans.

"Should this conversation not have been had before you spent the $45 million?" one resident asked.

There were also accusations of secrecy towards Christchurch Airport.

"This has basically been a secret purchase of land by two Crown entities," resident Scott Worthington said.

Another local, Cindy Hurley, said it's been a "terrible start" to the project.

"There's definitely been a lack of transparency and communication, and it's just really rude," she said.

Christchurch Airport executive Michael Singleton attended the meeting to dispel rumours it is a shovel-ready project.

"What we wanted to do is start a conversation with people," he said.

Singleton is hoping to build trust with residents.

"This isn't a process where we're looking to come into your community and ride roughshod over any other process," he said.

The first lot of land for the proposed airport was purchased before Christmas last year, the second lot was bought in March and the last as recently as June.

There is currently no timeline, plan or budget for the project, and the land is still zoned as farmland.