web analytics
The Standard

Secretive Haast-Hollyford Highway

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, December 5th, 2012 - 15 comments
Categories: overseas investment, tourism - Tags: , ,

Robert Krausz looks at the latest scheme for another sell-off of wilderness access with consultation limited to ‘inner circle’, while public input left out
 While DOC and the Government sit mysteriously on a long-delayed decision about the fate of one developer’s shortcut tunnel that would undermine the Routeburn Track, and another developer’s attempt to run a monorail bringing Queenstown tourists to their poorly-located hotel, an even older idea has reared its reworked/recycled head: the Haast-Hollyford Highway (HHH), which would provide a more direct link between the West Coast and Fiordland.
After all of the public debate about the tunnel and monorail proposals, the Haast-Hollyford Highway must appear to many as an obvious compromise solution – one that could serve to appease both environmental and economic concerns in the region.  However, upon closer inspection the HHH raises as many new questions as the old ones it might appear to answer – at least in the form in which it is being pitched.
The principal advantage of the HHH is obvious: it provides a much shorter route between the West Coast and Fiordland.  It also represents a way for travellers between these two regions to totally bypass Queenstown – a ‘screw you’ rebuttal of sorts to the tunnel and monorail schemes that would divert Queenstown tourists away from Te Anau and other Fiordland centres, on their way to ticking their Milford Sound ‘been there, done that’ boxes.

Routeburn Track

The obvious downside, which the media seems to have picked up on, is that the HHH would represent yet another subtraction from New Zealand’s wilderness estate – as the road would slice its way through some of the country’s most remote and rugged terrain, and would also effectively divide Fiordland National Park into two separate pieces.

What has been surprisingly missing from the discourse is debate about the private enterprise nature of the proposal.  As noted in the media, such as in this article in the Otago Daily Times, the HHH would be financed to the tune of around $220 million from overseas sources, which the proponent Westland District Property Ltd will not reveal at this time because of “very, very strict confidentiality agreements.”  This would make the HHH something largely unprecedented in NZ transportation: a private toll road.  The proponent is suggesting a $20/head road toll – which would presumably provide the payoff for the private partners and their overseas financiers.  Another presumably ‘sweet deal for mates’ – all in line with the new reality of business-as-usual in Aotearoa.
As with the as-yet-undecided tunnel and monorail proposals, this raises the question of whether Zealand is moving in the direction of selling its most public and protected land to private developers, for their private profit-generating schemes.
The HHH proponent has announced an upcoming trip that might include stops in Queenstown, Te Anau and Invercargill from 12-14 December.  The stated purpose of the trip is to brief as many “key stakeholders” with a “significant interest” as possible.  Of note: this will include “no public meetings”, as per the words of the proponent.
Cue the red flags and alarm bells…
Robert Krausz

15 comments on “Secretive Haast-Hollyford Highway”

  1. Almost sounds like a conspiracy doesn’t it!

  2. Peter 2

    It’s a real cause for alarm, as this road would effectively destroy the wilderness qualities of New Zealand’s best tramping terrain, as well as opening up a large, relatively pest free area (between Gorge River and Cascade River) to pest invasion.

    I’ve tramped through most of that area so I know it well.

    But, I think we should all take a deep breath on this one before launching into any campaigns. The Haast-Hollyford road has been proposed for over 100 years. In fact, there may be a surveyed road line through the area (which crosses into the western side of Mt Aspiring National Park). Kennecott Explorations built a road down the coast and up the Pyke into the Red Hills for their asbestos and chromium surveys in the 1970s. But, as we’ve seen, these proposals come and go.

    These are the stiff factors against the road:

    1) The cost. $220 million is probably a drop in the bucket, when they have to bridge New Zealand’s largest unbridged river (the Cascade), several larger rivers (the Pyke River, Gorge River), as well as numerous side streams with massive flood flows. They simply can’t build it for $220 million, nor keep it maintained.

    2) Queenstown and Wanaka business interests. I can’t see a business case for bypassing those established destinations, especially when NZ tourist numbers continue to drop.

    3) Approval for the part of the road that isn’t legal. This will either be around the coast, or up the Pyke and down the Cascade. That will be a stiff fight.

    4) A rather large fightback from everyone who cares about that special area of New Zealand. You can expect that to have an international dimension as well.

    I also want to see what mining interests are involved. It never quite dies.

    Peter

    • vto 2.1

      Peter, ” Kennecott Explorations built a road down the coast and up the Pyke into the Red Hills for their asbestos and chromium surveys in the 1970s”

      They didn’t build a road, they simply bulldozed down the coast. Today the track there can still be seen and walked in parts. In fact many of the boulders were too huge for their huge bulldozers so they blew them up and the shards are still lying around (pounamu ones long gone).

      I understand this current proposal is inland not coastal. This route would of course take it closer to the red hills, where there be gold in them thar hills (in fact the richest mountain in the land. loaded with minerals).

      The government announced a few months ago that a geophysical survey would be done over this area. However, in their typically lying duplicitous manner that geophysical survey work was done about 12 months before that in 2011. I know – I was there and saw it and have worked in geophysical surveys myself in centuries past.

      Foreign funders? Try Earl Hagamann, ex-Texan, Scenic Circle Hotels owner and rapacious capitalist based in Chch (even had the gall to cruise with last weekend;s Santa Parade in the most gigantic open-air cadillac. God knows what for.) People known with past Hagamann dealings say don’t trust him one little bit.

      So there you go – road, plus hotels, plus corner dairy plus cheap motels, plus rubbish.

      Just a little more ranting ……… what do Ngai Tahu think of this? They have a massive stake in this area and will be key. Will they follow the environment? Or will they follow the money? Might have to ask Shane Jones given iwis various penchants for slave labour and greed and increased squid quota over environmental concerns.

      This bunch of neanderthals will realise that next year 2013 and 2014 leading up to the election will be the last time for a very long time to have a hope in hell of getting this through. This is a hard right wing government hell bent on doing everything they can p;ossibly think of and damn the consequences. These people will know this. That is why it is being pushed now. And it is absolutely being pushed hard and fast. Don’t dawdle on stopping it.

      steam is choofing from me nostrils – best go calm down for a bit

      • Peter 2.1.1

        Yeah sorry, I’ve walked the roadline as well down the coast, I should have stated “bulldozed”. Still, it was quite handy for getting around Sandrock Bluff.

        Agree about all the rest, and yeah, if your reaction and my reaction are anything to go by, you can expect some seriously fired up people on this. And money to oppose it as well.

        Peter

  3. vto 3

    These fools are fucking dreaming.

    More more more faster faster faster money money money greed greed greed

    Some dumbarse points;

    1. The road will no way cost $220 million. Add another zero. This si the toughest and roughest country in the land for building roads. That is why the Haast Paringa link was only completed mid 1960s. river, swamp, bluff, swamp, swamp, river, swamp, river, mountain, bluff, swamp.

    2. Doing this will make no difference to the numbers of tourists or their spend. It will only divert it in different directions. There is absolutely no increased income benefit, no additional wealth brought into NZ. Nothing extra. Nada. None. It is a zero-sum situation.

    3. The environmental destruction will be on a scale to swamp anything done in NZ in recent decades. In fact since even before Manapouri.

    4. The numbers of tourists who will drive it will be low. There are hardly any touros on the road down there now anyway ffs. And not all of them will want to go in that direction.

    What is this obsession with doing the tourist thing faster and faster and faster and faster? Neanderthals. Bring your bulldozers to shove their bulldozers back.

    • lprent 3.1

      I tramped around there is the days of yore. Nice country. But I can’t see what the attraction would be for tourists. Apart from the damn sandflies of course

      • vto 3.1.1

        the attraction is singular.

        saves 300 kilometres odd of driving if doing a south island west coast queenstown milford loop.

        that’s it.

        nothing more.

  4. thomas 4

    I keep having a bad dream that beautiful Aotearoa is being whored off by a bunch of rich and filthy pimps. The lower end of Te Wai Pounamu is taking it bad at the moment, what with the Routeburn Tunnel, the Monorail madness, the Cascade Gondola trying to be revived and now the Haast-Hollyford Highway coming back from the dead. I thought that the Haast-Hollyford Highway was buried and left to rest in peace in 2010 but it seems that necrophilic fantasies are enticing the afore mentioned pimps to do the unthinkable.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    The stated purpose of the trip is to brief as many “key stakeholders” with a “significant interest” as possible. Of note: this will include “no public meetings”, as per the words of the proponent.

    Yep, the term stakeholders precludes the people who live there. I learned that when Cullen had such meetings in a location that business was thinking of building a factory of some form in – stakeholders only, the locals weren’t invited.

  6. millsy 6

    Monorails and fancy toll roads have no place in our National Parks.

    They are first and foremost, for the recreation and enjoyment of all NEW ZEALANDERS, not wealthy tourists (which I belive that the the government wants to use our national parks for — hence the closure of huts, etc).

    Up here, a helicopter company wants to fly trampers (wealthy overseas ones), into Egmont National Park.

    We dont seem to appreciate our parks, we either commercialise them, or try and hand them over to iwi.

    • David C 6.1

      Why would you be against choppers taking people into Nat Parks?
      Freakishly odd and totally disconected with reality.

      • millsy 6.1.1

        Because its about making access easily accesable for paying clientele, turning our national parks into commodities.

      • One Tāne Huna 6.1.2

        Why? Because now I’ve walked into the middle of all that tranquillity I don’t want to have to listen to bloody helicopters! Kind of ruins the whole point of being there…

        Duh!

      • Richard 6.1.3

        I’m sure you will find it weird, but there are quite a few of us who consider the “natural quiet” to be one of the natural resources of a National Park. Try spending a few days (or a few hours for that matter) away from the sound of the combustion engine. You just might find it enjoyable rather than freakish.

  7. Benjamin B. 7

    Hasn’t a certain Mr Brownlee got some pecuniary interest in mining down there?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New figures show speculators rampant
    New figures released by the Reserve Bank show there’s been an explosion in mortgage lending with most of the growth going to property investors, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank data shows mortgage lending was up 6 per… ...
    7 hours ago
  • Spring is here – not pollen your leg
    It’s the first day of spring, and many people will be thinking about getting stuck into the weeds in the garden ready for planting. This year September is also Bee Aware Month. While there is a lack of movement from… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    11 hours ago
  • Government must do more to help global refugee crisis
    John Key must urgently increase our refugee quota and let New Zealand play its part in helping address the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding around the world, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “The refugee crisis in countries like Lebanon and Austria… ...
    11 hours ago
  • The latest equal pay case – Go the Midwives
    ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    13 hours ago
  • Key’s threat to veto premature
    John Key’s threat that he might use a financial veto against the Bill that will introduce 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave is premature and based on inflated costings, says the bill’s sponsor, Labour ‘s Sue Moroney.  “The Government keeps saying… ...
    1 day ago
  • Reflections on the plastic bag tour
    After a marathon public tour around New Zealand that took me to 29 different places around New Zealand from the far north of Kaitaia to the deep south of Invercargill to talk about phasing out plastic bag use, I wanted… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    1 day ago
  • Labour celebrates Tongan language and diversity
    Tongan Language Week is a timely reminder of the importance and beauty of our Pacific culture, identity and language in New Zealand, says our first Tongan born, Tongan speaking MP Jenny Salesa.  The theme for Tongan Language Week in 2015… ...
    1 day ago
  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    1 day ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    1 day ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    4 days ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    5 days ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    5 days ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    5 days ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    5 days ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    5 days ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    6 days ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    6 days ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    6 days ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    6 days ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    6 days ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    6 days ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    7 days ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    7 days ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    1 week ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    1 week ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    1 week ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    1 week ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    1 week ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    1 week ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed
    The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says. “The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver sign-ups continue to fall
    New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere