Small Otago village locals outraged at proposed airport

Locals near a small central Otago farming settlement are outraged an airport could be built on nearby land.

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

Tarras is 30 minutes away from Cromwell and 25 from Wanaka. Locals say they didn't know an airport might be built nearby.

"I think it's a shame that Tarras is going to get changed forever. I've lived here all my life and it's just going to spoil the town," resident Spin Lucus says.

Another local, Margaret Sell, says, "I live in Queensberry Hills and I've just heard that the flight paths are coming straight over our houses. We didn't build in the country to have planes over the top of us".

John Harris and Marilyn Duxson, owners of Māori Point Wines, say their vineyard is close to the proposed site.

"It is our little bit of paradise and it will be massively affected by noise, the smell of jet fumes," Duxson says.

They can see the benefits but say it will change the quality of their lives.

"I'm a member of a team of five million and ask, is it going to be good for New Zealand?', and that's where I have my real doubts. I don't see the economic benefits of a third airport within 50 kilometres of other large airports," Harris says.

"It was a complete surprise. I had no inkling that it was coming."

Christchurch International Airport chief executive Malcolm Jones says construction could begin in as soon as five years.

"We want to build one that's appropriate for that area, so one that's probably a similar size to Queenstown but with a slightly longer runway of about 2.2 kilometres."

Another benefit of the location is the flat land, as well as the approach and departure pathways, Jones says.