The group which presented a petition opposing the Milford
Dart tunnel to Parliament has been invited to make a submission
to a select committee on the Department of Conservation (Doc)
Stop the Tunnel member Trish Fraser said the group received a
letter from the local government and environment select
committee inviting it to submit ''specifically'' on the
process of applying for Doc concessions.
''We're definitely keen to submit on that because we have a
lot of concerns about the process,'' Ms Fraser said.
''We don't know how a project like this got off the ground.''
New Conservation Minister Nick Smith was formerly a member of
the local government and environment select committee before
his ministerial role.
Last week Dr Smith announced he would be making the final
decision on both the tunnel and the Fiordland Link Experience
monorail, which would also shorten travelling time to Milford
Former minister Kate Wilkinson delegated the decision-making
for both projects to Doc deputy director Sue Cosford.
The Stop the Tunnel group supports Dr Smith's decision.
''It should not be left to a public servant,'' Ms Fraser
She added that being a minister, Dr Smith was more likely to
consider the projects' impact on the wider community,
including Te Anau which would lose business from the diverted
tourist path and Glenorchy which would have ''80 buses
clogging up the roads''.
She said members from the Stop the Tunnel group would travel
to Wellington if the group was invited to speak on behalf of
In a statement sent earlier this week, Dr Smith said he would
visit ''the affected areas'' and Ms Fraser hoped Prime
Minister John Key would also visit.
''I mean, he is the Minister of Tourism and the impact of
this on tourism could be huge.''