Western Province Premier Wayne Maepio has strongly refuted claims by a former New Zealand aid researcher that the Munda airport upgrading project is a waste of funds.
Research fellow Terence Wood told Radio New Zealand last week the Munda Airport project did not look like good value for money and something that would succeed.
But Hon. Maepio said calling it a “white elephant project” and questioning its viability was baseless.
He said the Munda Airport project would bring significant benefits to the people of Western Province, tourists and the country.
The upgrade of the airport, originally expected to finish this month, will enable it to take in bigger planes and have international capability.
Premier Maepio said among its historical significance, the airport would be a good back-up for emergencies and would boost the country’s tourism industry.
“Let me say this, this year if the Munda International Airport is completed and upgraded, and a lot of visiting friends from New Zealand will stand to benefit a lot from it,” Mr Maepio said.
“If you go down and check for yourselves the number of tourists visiting Solomon Islands coming through Munda, you will be amazed to find that thousands of people stand to benefit from Munda International Airport.”