Plans to close some
Otago roads for the Targa New Zealand rally have put some
affected residents into a spin.
In Dunedin, the rally has divided opinions of Otago Peninsula
residents who live in and close to Highcliff Rd, designated
as part of the route for the South Island's first Targa rally
Objections have also been raised in the Wakatipu, where
organisers have applied to close the Queenstown-Glenorchy
Peninsula residents opposed to the road closure - from
9am-1.30pm on Thursday, October 30 - expressed concern about
being unable to access their properties, noise and exhaust
fumes from the event and the ''arrogance of organisers''.
However, rally organisers said they had gone out of their way
to address residents' concerns, and the seven-day event,
which starts in Christchurch on October 27 and ends in
Queenstown the following Sunday, would bring millions of
dollars to the Otago region.
Dunedin City Council transport technical officer Michael
Tannock recommended the council approve a resource consent
application for the road to be closed.
''While there have been objections to the event, the race
organiser has made reasonable attempts to address the adverse
impacts that may occur.
''Officers' views are that this event benefits the majority
of the community, therefore, the closure should be
supported,'' Mr Tannock said.
Pukehiki resident Lynn Samuels said, like many of her
neighbours, she had been struck by the organisers' arrogance.
''We weren't consulted, we were told,'' she said.
The road was also popular with tourists, who would be unable
to use it.
''It's not just a normal country road. It's a busy road.''
Other concerns posted by residents on the Pukehiki Community
Blog included that ''wildlife and motor racing do not go
together'', a car race was unsafe on such a narrow and steep
road, and the event would disturb residents and farms where
lambing would be in progress.
Pukehiki Hall society president John Ware, who was staying
neutral on the issue, said a group of not-so-vocal residents
was in favour of the rally.
Martin Dippie, here with co-driver Jona Grant in their
Porsche GT3, is the defending Targa New Zealand champion.
Photo: Ben Hughes
Targa New Zealand operations manager Gary Upson said
organisers had carried out a ''comprehensive consultation
That involved door-knocking all residents living in Highcliff
Rd, and Mr Upson disagreed with accusations of arrogance.
Residents had been given notice three or four months ahead of
the rally, meaning they could plan around the lack of access,
or arrange with rally organisers to be escorted out on the
morning of the event, he said.
''We expect that we will have close to 200-odd competitors
and by the time you get the service crew and helpers and
officials there will probably be well over 1500 people who
will be staying in Dunedin for two nights.
''All of those people are going to be wining and dining while
they are there,'' Mr Upson said.
The council report on the event will be open for discussion
at the Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting on Thursday,
when the board will be asked to give its opinion on the road
closure before a final decision is made by the council.
Closing the Queenstown-Glenorchy road from 1.30pm-7pm on
Saturday, November 1, was running ''roughshod'' over the
interests of businesses and residents along the route, an
Blanket Bay luxury lodge general manager Philip Jenkins had
written to the Queenstown Lakes District Council opposing the
application, and would ''vigorously appeal'' if it was
''You can't close an arterial road for an event that will
stop traffic coming out to Glenorchy when there isn't an
The lodge supported events that drew visitors to the region,
but event organisers could not ''run roughshod'' over local
Closeburn resident Doug Bailey said it was ''unacceptable and
unreasonable'' for the road to be closed for an extended time
on a weekend day.
Glenorchy Community Association chairman Pete Reid said a
Targa representative had not attended last week's monthly
meeting as he had hoped, and residents had not received
details about the road closure application.
''A few residents are starting to question it because they
haven't got any information. It's not ideal.''
However, he generally supported the event, and thought
residents would be able to plan around it.
''It's not closed for the whole day, and there's a window in
the middle of it.''
Council planning and development general manager Marc
Bretherton said the public could make submissions on Targa's
application until the council's property sub-committee made a
decision on August 28.
Targa New Zealand managing director Peter Martin could not be
reached for comment.