Labour wants to ignore DOC advice

November 1st, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

Too risky is ’s view on a proposed between Queenstown and Milford.

Officials have advised the $200 million project be given provisional approval but the Minister of Conservation is still to make a decision on the scheme.

Labour MP Ruth Dyson is against the project saying the monorail will cut a swathe through significant areas of pristine beech forest and has the potential to cost its World Heritage status.

“Frankly I think the combination of those things, plus the fact that tourists come to New Zealand for other reasons – they want the pureness of our country.

“I think the stakes are too high, we have too much at risk, and it should be declined.”

It is disappointing that Labour is going against the advice of two separate independent reports from the Department of Conservation. Both the Hearing Commissioner and the DOC Officers have said the project should be provisionally approved. These are reports from public servants whose job is to consider if the impact on conservation land would be too detrimental. I’m disappointed that Labour is saying has it wrong in this case.

There is no risk to World Heritage status with this proposal – you have to be insane to actually believe that UNESCO would remove world heritage status from Fiordland because of a monorail.  And as I have said before the vast vast bulk of the monorail does not go through the National Park.  It goes through the Snowdon Forest Stewardship Area.

As for tourism, I have no doubt this would lead to many more tourists visiting Fiordland. A journey by catamaran and monorail, over bus, will appeal to lots of people. Also they are proposing that the road used to construct the monorail be turned into a mountain bike route also – again lots of people will want to do that.

The man who will have the final say is Nick Smith.

Yesterday he released official advice from DOC about the project, which recommends he give the green light.

But the Conservation Minister says he still has a lot more research to do before he makes his decision.

“There’s a bit of a commercial question as to whether this thing commercially will fly.

“And the reason that is concerning for me is that if it does fail I don’t want the department and the taxpayer being left with sort of a half built white elephant.”

I’ve touched on this before and I agree that is a concern. There should be some provision that money be set aside for it to be removed, if it does fail.

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17 Responses to “Labour wants to ignore DOC advice”

  1. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Give Dyson some Chardonnay and she’ll change her opinion. Don’t ask her to drive, though.

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  2. queenstfarmer (770 comments) says:

    More silly opposition for opposition’s sake by Labour.

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  3. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    We don’t know that it’s the Labour position, their spokespeople seem to speak their own opinion at times, sometimes contrary to other Labour spokespeople opinions.

    Dyson is currently ranked between Trevor Mallard and Clare Curran. Cunliffe gets some things right.

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  4. Jinky (182 comments) says:

    What does it matter if the Opposition party isn’t happy with advice of a Govt Dept? Does National follow all the advice they get?

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  5. MikeG (425 comments) says:

    So it’s ok for National to ignore Treasury advice, but wrong if Labour ignores DOC advice? How about some consistency Farrar?

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  6. Monty (974 comments) says:

    More a case of Labour screaming when National follow advice. basically Labour labour are proving yet again they are anti business! anti jobs and anti progress.

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  7. Lance (2,620 comments) says:

    @Monty
    No, it’s OK.
    Labour will just tax and borrow their way to a prosperous NZ.
    No need for tiresome economics or risky mineral wealth.

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  8. Jimbo (42 comments) says:

    The Yanks offered to build this for free back over sixty years ago. What a missed opportunity!

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  9. greybeard (57 comments) says:

    Surely if it is such a great commercial idea then there should be no taxpayer funding at all, and one of the conditions for development should be that in the event of a prolonged business failure then the infrastructure be removed and the land returned to its current state. There certainly seems to be some doubt about its commercial viability.

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  10. Dirty Rat (383 comments) says:

    I suppose it beats ignoring Treasury advice for what was it ?…three or four times ?

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  11. backster (2,142 comments) says:

    Labour is white anting Green Party Policy again.

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  12. wreck1080 (3,866 comments) says:

    @greybeard — You are completely correct and Nick Smith did address the issues of commercial viability and costs of removal should this fail.

    Eminently sensible to protect the taxpayers.

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  13. hannity (152 comments) says:

    DPFs’ apoplexy is well founded,
    Nick Smith knows that DOCs advice cannot just be ignored.
    It must never see the light of day.

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  14. queenstfarmer (770 comments) says:

    We don’t know that it’s the Labour position

    Cunliffe has said they oppose it.

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  15. flipper (3,948 comments) says:

    For Christ’s sake….what pack of shitheads.

    If all Governments were required to accept departmental advice, why bother electing a Parliament???

    And since when did all wisdom repose in a department?

    The advice, is advice from their insular viewpoint, sometimes set in stone by legislation.

    But it is the Ministers who make the decision, and they do it according to law. The naysayers can get fucked. And that includes the mother bashing prick named Cun*life.

    In respect of this proposal, should Nicky Smith approve it?.
    I think he should ask for expert financial advice to assist him, and he should carefully, very, very carefully, at DOC’s proposed changes. (They are fundamentally economic illiterates, who could not give a FF about the NZ economy) . But if the whole thing were to go belly up, what the hell. The maximum cost would be considerably less than a fifth of what Rick Prick Cullen and his lesbian Clark/Simpson partners spent on their choo choo train.

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  16. Pete George (23,429 comments) says:

    We don’t know that it’s the Labour position

    Cunliffe has said they oppose it.

    Yes, so he has, according to Audrey Young.

    Labour Party leader David Cunliffe sent me a text on Wednesday night stating simply: “We oppose it.”

    He was responding to a question about the proposed 30km Milford Monorail – a $200 million private sector proposal that Conservation Minister Nick Smith is contemplating.

    The message stood out for its simplicity. Among a raft of projects put to him several hours earlier to gauge Labour’s support, it was the only one that was effectively a simple Yes or No.

    Most of Labour’s positions on big projects being promoted unabashedly by National as jobs and wealth creators are heavily nuanced or have a set of conditions attached to them.

    It leaves Labour looking as though it opposes everything and is positioning itself closer to the Greens along the spectrum that starts with unbridled economic development and ends with disturbing nothing in the environment.

    But that’s Cunliffe. It would be good to know what the Labour MP who is promoting jobs thinks.

    If Cunliffe is accused of getting too close to the Greens, he has a ready-made insurance policy in Shane Jones, the party’s strongest Green critic and the closest the party has to a “drill, baby, drill” spokesman.

    As he toured the regions in the Labour leadership contest, he stood in contrast to Cunliffe and Robertson, who took a less gung-ho position on economic development and free trade.

    When the contest was over, however, Cunliffe made Jones his economic development spokesman.

    “We are the Labour Party and the essence of Labour means work, and work comes from industry and industry comes from investment,” says Jones.

    Cunliffe says he is pro-job…

    Cunliffe rejects the suggestion his party is the No party. Just because he said “no”, or criticised the process or said more information was needed, did not make Labour anti-development.

    “We are not. We are a pro-growth party. We want more good jobs. We are very happy to see business succeed.”

    …but opposes a pro-growth business proposal that will create jobs.

    Cunliffe may sound as if he is far more eloquent than Shearer, but in reality the contradictions and uncertainties remain.

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  17. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    We should build a proper railway through Fiordland with steam engines and all. The tourists would flock to the place! :)

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