Doc slams drunken jet-boaters

Alabaster Hut. Photo: Doc
Alabaster Hut. Photo: Doc
A group of obnoxious jet-boaters have been slammed for their antics in a Fiordland hut, which included hunting at night while drunk.

The antics prompted the Department of Conservation (Doc) to warn it would be taking a "hard line" on anti-social behaviour.

Doc investigated the incident at Lake Alabaster Hut on the Hollyford Track after  a tramper laid a formal complaint against a group of jet-boaters over an incident which happened about a month ago.

The group, who had been flown by helicopter into the 26-bed hut, had brought with them a large amount of alcohol.

It iwas alleged the group were unnecessarily noisy, rude to other hut occupants and "more concerningly" went hunting at night while drunk.

Doc Te Anau operations manager Greg Lind  said such "obnoxious behaviour"  would not be tolerated.

“We have investigated the incident and, though no criminal acts have been uncovered, there was clear disregard shown by the party for other hut users.

It was not the first time jet boaters had been accused of obnoxious  behaviour and there had been similar reports at the Wairaurahiri Hut in southern Fiordland.

"It appears, based on this and other incidents, some jet boaters simply do not understand reasonable behaviour in the back-country."

“Offensive behaviour, especially when it intimidates other users of Doc facilities, is unacceptable.

"We have spoken with the group leader concerned."

Jet Boating New Zealand vice president and national safety officer Steve Kirner said it supported Doc’s stance.

"Jet Boating New Zealand does not condone this kind of behaviour and if any such instance involved its members we would fully co-operate with Doc or other authorities.

"Sadly, isolated incidents like this, regardless of whether they are JBNZ members, reflect badly on our organisation and jet boaters in general."

Mr Lind said  majority of hut users in Fiordland were considerate and friendly.

“It’s a uniquely New Zealand experience to visit a Doc hut, meet people and make new friends.

"It’s part of what makes us Kiwis.

“My request to jet boaters and others flying into these wonderful places is to respect the places and the rights and enjoyment of other users.

"I am thankful for the support of Jet Boating New Zealand."

Additional Doc staff were being deployed to popular visitor locations throughout Fiordland over the busy summer season.

“Doc will be taking a hard line on any antisocial behaviour," Mr Lind said.

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