Fiordland residents rally against transport projects
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 6:20p.m.
By Krissy Moreau
Despite the cold temperatures and the early hour, Fiordland residents rallied with force this morning and with a message for Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson.
They're against two projects which would reduce the return bus trip from Queenstown to Milford from nine to four hours.
The first of these is an 11km bus tunnel which would link the Routeburn Rd to the Milford Rd.
The second is a 43km boat, All Terrain Vehicle and monorail journey between Queenstown and Te Anau downs.
“If either of these proposals go through, where will it stop? It could be a gondola up Mitre Peak it could be anything,” says Fiordland resident Paul King.
Te Anau could lose the 500,000 tourists that come through every year.
While the Save Fiordland group hope that protests will have an impact on the Conservation Minister, they are realistic and plan to discuss legal action later in the week.
“We feel a little bit like David and Goliath, it will cost a lot of money but we will find it we will fight it to the end,” says Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno.
The minister insists the projects have not yet been approved.
“Absolutely not and I think that’s the confusion, its the triggering mechanism to enable the public to be consulted,” says Ms Wilkinson.
While the minister won't budge on a time frame, the locals here hope she rejects both plans so the tourists will keep coming through Te Anau for years to come.
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5/07/2012 3:51:48 p.m.
Legal action was successful against the Minister of Conservation regarding her decision to decline the marine reserve in Akaroa Harbour because a few people fished there. A High Court Judicial Review quashed the Minister's decision and she is now required to look at the reserve in the wider context and remake her decision. Legal action was a good option for Akaroa particularly against this Minister who has a very strange view of the need for conservation. I hope that the Minister is learning that conservation IS important to ordinary people and that money/development/trashing the environment is what she should be opposed to. The Minister is ALWAYS reluctant to give time frames or connect with ordinary folk and is hardly ever available to comment to the media. In the interests of the National Party's 'balance' she will probably go for the anti-conservation option as it suits the political drift. I sincerely hope that the Fiordland protest is successful. Good luck.
5/07/2012 8:06:48 a.m.
Stephen Hoskin wrote:
The journey does not have to be an "arduous" 9 hour trip. There is a very pleasant 4 hour trip available from Te Anau right now. We do have accomodation down here. Tourists get duped into basing themselves in Queenstown by a well-funded marketing machine. Some make the journey from Queenstown to Fiordland 2 or 3 times thereby driving the same road up to 6 times. There is a much simpler solution: stay in Te Anau!
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