Department of Conservation fire crew members on the
blackened face along the East Matukituki track after a fire
in the Mt Aspiring National Park last year. Photos by
The Department of Conservation has declined to release a
fire investigation report to the Otago Daily Times
requested under the Official Information Act.
The paper asked for the report into the December 2013 East
Matukituki fire that burned more than 100ha of forest and
tussock land in the Mount Aspiring National Park.
A summary of Wanaka Doc office activities provided to the
Otago Conservation Board at its meeting in Alexandra last
month said the fire investigation report was completed and
''recommends that full fire suppression cost recovery be
sought from the individual responsible''.
However, Wanaka Doc office spokeswoman Annette Grieve said at
the time the department was exploring options for the
recovery of fire suppression costs and declined to comment
In his response to the ODT's official information
request, Doc south and eastern South Island conservation
partnerships director Barry Hanson said withholding the
information in the report was necessary to enable the
department to ''carry on, without prejudice or disadvantage,
negotiations'', as stated in the Act.
At the time of the fire, Wanaka-based conservation services
manager Chris Sydney told the ODT it seemed ''fairly
apparent'' the fire had been started by a man who had a small
campsite in the area.
The man was a New Zealander who spent time in the Queenstown