Petition goes too

Former Southland district mayor Frana Cardno is taking extra luggage with her when she visits Wellington today to be officially invested as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

She is also taking a 18,000-signature petition by opponents of the monorail proposed for a conservation area between Queenstown and Milford Sound.

''I thought seeing as I was going to Wellington anyway I would pay a visit to Bill English, our local [Clutha Southland] MP.''

Conservation Minister Nick Smith has called for a financial viability report into the Fiordland Link Experience proposal before he makes his decision.

Mrs Cardno said as well as the signatures on the ''hard-copy'' petition, another 10,000 people, mainly overseas tourists, had signed the online version.

''We're delighted with the response. Visitors say they love Te Anau and Milford Sound because it's so natural ... and they just want to help us.''

She is also taking the preliminary results of a business survey conducted in the Queenstown-Lakes and Fiordland areas.

It asked business owners for their views on information from monorail promoter Bob Robertson, including a target of transporting 40% of Queenstown-Milford Sound tourists on the monorail and plans to build a major hotel and ''park and ride'' facility at Te Anau Downs.

Mrs Cardno said many business owners in small towns along the existing Queenstown-Milford Sound route said they relied on passing traffic and could not afford to lose any customers. Others were unhappy about a significant development at Te Anau Downs.

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