English no-show for tunnel petition
Thu, 16 Aug 2012 12:01p.m.
A group campaigning to stop the Milford Dart tunnel has delivered a 25,000-signature petition to Parliament - but their local MP, Acting Prime Minister Bill English, pulled out of the event at the last minute.
The Stop the Tunnel group wants the Government to decline an application by Milford Dart Limited to the Department of Conservation to build a tunnel in Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks to cut the travel time between Milford Sound and Queenstown.
Mr English - the Clutha-Southland MP - was scheduled to receive their petition on Parliament's forecourt on Thursday morning, but failed to show up, reportedly refusing to take part if other political parties were present.
MPs from both Labour and the Greens attended.
Instead, Invercargill MP Eric Roy was sent to accept the petition and make excuses for Mr English.
"Apparently the acting Prime Minister has just been caught up in something that's captured his time, and he's asked me to accept it on his behalf, which I'm very happy to do," Mr Roy told media.
Mr Roy will table the petition in Parliament, but says the Government is still working through the statutory process on the application.
Stop the Tunnel spokeswoman Trish Fraser says the group hopes the Government will listen to its plea.
She says the only people who will benefit from the tunnel are Milford Dart's directors.
"It's 11.3km long, it's a beautiful pristine area, and not only that, but there'll be about 80 buses driving through Glenorchy in peak season and they won't be stopping, so there'll be no increased business for Glenorchy. There'll just be increased traffic, increased noise, increased pollution," says Ms Fraser.
Labour's Grant Robertson, who was at the petition handover, said Mr English's no-show excuse was "ridiculous".
"Almost every petition that I've ever seen presented out in front of Parliament has been a multi-party event.
"I would have liked to see him here. This is his electorate that is affected and he really should have come out today."
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27/08/2012 4:42:31 p.m.
that will teach you to vote for Mr English and national wont it .
27/08/2012 4:40:57 p.m.
cant you just always rely on national and its mps ha ha ha this says it all and at the last second that's disgustingly rude .
17/08/2012 6:12:37 p.m.
Robert M wrote:
The milford monorail has been mooted for years. If the parties can find the money, by all means let them build it. Even if they only seem to have the backing and can temporarily satisfy the banks. Monorails are usually particularly stupid means of rail transport which are inflexible and capacity limited-but on this route they may have merits and it will expose the anti development tree huggers. Southland and Westland need to be turned into special mineral development areas outside the key tourist areas.
17/08/2012 8:07:26 a.m.
'DAID' - WoW ! - your comments truly are amazing and insightful. They are full of intelligence and wit. Your graps of politics and other things is amazing. We must congratulate you at next Labour Party Conference. Yes, you certainly are full of it.
16/08/2012 7:49:11 p.m.
Robert Krausz wrote:
Some basic facts:
The tunnel would bore alongside the Routeburn Track between Lake Mackenzie and the Routeburn Flats. That is some of NZ's classic backcountry wilderness. One of NZ's Great walks.
The tunnel would undermine the Routeburn Track to cut the travel time from Queenstown to Milford Sound. But it would not be for you or me to travel on at our leisure, because it would be a private access road with the private developer, Milford Dart Ltd, getting to decide who could use it, and charging their fee for the privilege.
Like the boat-atv-monorail development, this is not a public project with intended benefits for the wider population. It is a private deal for a small, private corporate group.
This is about setting a new precedent for privatisation of what until now has been wilderness that all of us owned together.
What happens in Mt Aspiring and Fiordland with this tunnel, or with the boat-atv-monorail in Te Wahipounamu, can happen next in Tongariro, Te Uruwera, or wherever. That is how precedents work. Expect it.
16/08/2012 1:44:04 p.m.
His people, his electorate.... yet if another party shows up in support... I mean god help us if we have cross party support on an issue... democracy would die.
National arent into democracy though unfortunately.. they are operating like a dictatorship.
If they cant get their own way... they throw a tantrum.
His previous engagement was probably at the circus, as everyone knows English is a clown.
Lost the Party leadership because he was a clown as well.
16/08/2012 12:51:34 p.m.
I'm not sure why people are surprised he was a no show. He is just carrying on the theme of this govt for the past few years - no shows.
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