Group vows to stop Fiordland park projects

A group has vowed to do "whatever it takes" to stop commercial developments proposed for the Fiordland and Mount Aspiring national parks - and says it will raise money from throughout the country to help the fight.

Save Fiordland media spokesman Robert Krausz yesterday said there was "national support" behind the group's battle to stop the Routeburn-Hollyford tunnel and the Snowdon Forest monorail proposals.

More than 300 people attended a public meeting organised by the group in Te Anau on Tuesday with the aim of intensifying local opposition to the projects.

Should either or both of the proposals be granted, Save Fiordland would seek a judicial review, Mr Krausz said.

"There's a commonly held belief ... that we would win in the courts because these proposals violate park management plans."

The group - formed about a month ago - had already received a $1000 donation and established a raffle and a donation box to help start a fighting fund, but as an incorporated society it would also be eligible for legal assistance, he said.

Should the concessions be declined it was likely the money raised would remain with the group as a "stand-by" should further developments be floated for the area.

Mr Krausz yesterday said residents of Te Anau and Glenorchy had pledged to "work together" against the planned projects.

"It was a huge turnout [at Tuesday's meeting] and everyone was very, very supportive ... there were some differing opinions but all of the community were all in support of our group's opposition to the projects," he said.

"If we need to raise money, we'll just go out and get it.

"The community is a strong one and because we've got ...national support, we'll just canvass that right across the country.

"There is a lot of hope we can nip this thing in the bud."

Mr Krausz said the Green Party, Mana Party and Labour Conservation spokeswoman Ruth Dyson had indicated their support of Save Fiordland's position.

Mr Krausz said it was up to Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson "to make the final call ... in a way, she controls the situation".

"Our hope is that somehow, miraculously, she would decide to turn down those things, but as you might know, she's already given a notice of approval.

"They are poised to approve it [but] this public input process has been overwhelmingly in opposition."

Mr Krausz said the group was "not just about saving Te Anau businesses" but saving Fiordland for the benefit of the country and the world.



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