Kawarau Jet's rule book seen as private

The rule book for Kawarau Jet, containing "valuable intellectual property", will be seen by only a few select eyes during the operator's continuing Environment Court battle to keep jet-boat rival Thunder Jet off the Kawarau River.

Judge Laurie Newhook, sitting with commissioners David Bunting and John Mills, signed off on the revised confidentiality agreement regarding Kawarau Jet's safe operational plan, at the Queenstown District Court on Wednesday.

The agreement was reached between Jim Castiglione, counsel for the appellants Kawarau Jet Holdings Ltd and Clearwater Pursuits Ltd, Pru Steven, counsel for Queenstown Water Taxis Ltd (QWT), which trades as Thunder Jet, and Graeme Todd, lawyer for the respondent Queenstown Lakes District Council, after an hour-long adjournment.

A safe operational plan is required for jet-boats carrying passengers at planing speed under maritime rule part 80.

Mr Castiglione described Kawarau Jet's safe operational plan as a "rule book", which was a "commercially sensitive document", and submitted to the court a draft confidentiality order.

Judge Newhook said he was concerned Ms Steven and Mr Todd would not be able to argue against the safe operational plan if they could not read it. Both counsels said they wanted the opportunity.

The agreement enabled only Ms Steven, Mr Todd, harbour master Marty Black and Nicholas Hamilton, an experienced commercial jet-boat driver and witness for QWT, to read the document.

There would be no reading aloud in open court. However, witnesses could read relevant sections and make verbal reference to paragraph numbers.

New Zealand Jet Boat Association racer and safety officer Lance Kerr, of Christchurch, appeared for QWT yesterday.

According to his submission, Mr Kerr said he believed multiple commercial operators, along with recreational jet-boats, can co-exist safely on the Kawarau River in the areas in which QWT wanted to operate, provided the basic river right rule was abided by.

The Environment Court was adjourned yesterday when an unnamed lawyer developed an undisclosed illness overnight.

• An application was lodged to adjourn the Kawarau Jet appeal when the hearing resumed yesterday morning.

The application was supported by the other two lawyers.

The hearing will return to Queenstown and may resume in June. The appeal had been scheduled to conclude today.

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