Bulldozing Fiordland: Brownlee committed

Written By: - Date published: 12:15 pm, January 22nd, 2010 - 16 comments
Categories: Conservation, heritage, Mining - Tags:

In the Otago Daily Times on Wednesday, Gerry Brownlee confirmed he was personally pushing for a new road to be bulldozed through the middle of Fiordland National Park.

photo from tramper.net.nz

“I’m personally supportive of it but it’s not something that the Government is actually considering at the present time. It’s something that sits out there as a possibility”

Brownlee is “personally supportive”. Why?

Is it to mine in Fiordland’s Red Hills? Well, Brownlee should consider the fate of last attempt (from Te Ara) to build a road to prospect in Fiordland’s Red Hills.

Road to Nowhere: In the early 1970s the isolated Red Hills in Fiordland were considered a likely asbestos prospect. A mining company tried to blaze a trail with a bulldozer from Arawata to the remote claim. The motley convoy included tractors, sheds on sleds and other gear. To make a path they had to use explosives in the Monkey Puzzle Gorge, and drill and blast enormous boulders. Swamps, forests, and rough ground added to the obstacles. They never reached their destination, and returned from the 200-kilometre trip without doing a single day’s prospecting.

With that in mind, think of the devastation that will be needed to make the Brownlee bulldozing a reality.

16 comments on “Bulldozing Fiordland: Brownlee committed”

  1. vto 1

    Why on earth politicians, central and local, and the odd businessgremlin keep raising this idea every decade or so is beyond me. Of course Hagaman will be wanting to dot the coastline with his hotels. And I guess the politicians like anything which guarantees a headline.

    But seriously, it is just a waste of time. How much is Transmission Gully costing? Multiply that by some large factor and you may start getting close. Cost and benefit do not add up.

    Having traversed much of that coastline I can say that it is just daft daft daft. Dafter than a daft thing. Dafter than maybe even Brownlee himself. In fact the whole idea could beome the new definition for daft. And for thick-headed. And brainless. Headless even.

    • Clarke 1.1

      … and I loved Brownlee on the telly last night when the subject of oil exploration off the Northland coast came up – he said that the government would be balancing the exploration activity with environmental considerations without laughing even once!

      Brownlee isn’t just stupid – he’s possessed of the sort of weapons-grade stupidity that should be banned by UN treaty.

  2. vto 2

    Having said that, the journey “Road to Nowhere” is impressive. Though somewhat foolish, they managed a great deal and the story is quite something. You can still see some of the tracks they made, which today makes the incredibly strenuous route slightly less incredibly strenuous.

  3. Bill 3

    At first glance of the header I thought sanity had prevailed and that Brownlie had been committed for wanting to bull doze Fiordland. Alas….

  4. Maynard J 4

    “Having traversed much of that coastline”

    Jealous. Gotta have a crack at pyke-big bay some time, and check out th Cascade area (preferably in flood).

    You know, I almost want them to try this (the thought of it got me out of retirement), but no doubt it will be used as a cover so that they can back down, and the 4-lane highway up the Greenstone valley will look like a reasonable compromise to the manipulative-prone…

  5. vto 5

    I call it the Forgotten Coast. Gets less visitors than most any other part of Fiordland. It is truly virginal and untouched. And large. And forgotten. Following hut visitor books, maybe 1 to 2 through a month. The area is NZ’s largest and least touched and visited area on the mainland. It must stay that way imo. And it will without a road – unless vast swathes of the population suddenly find a desire to boulder-hop large boulders with heavy packs for days on end.

  6. BLiP 6

    Crazy shit. On the one hand, John Key gives private business more than $5 million in subsidies to attract tourists and enhance our so-called 100% Pure status and then, on the other, Billy Bunter Brownlee promotes bulldozing national parks.

    Its like a sleight of hand trick National Ltd® hopes the punters won’t notice?

  7. @Maynard. Hollyford and up the Pyke River to big bay is a great trip. Only place that i have very nearly had hypothermia, drowned and then sunburnt in less than 24 hrs and then nearly eaten alive by sand flies at big bay. Ahhh but a great trip and one well worth doing.
    Back to the post,
    I’m glad you also spotted the most likely reason for the road, the Red Hills mining. I referred to it a couple of weeks back when i first read another post and thought why would you need a road, it goes nowhere!
    Are you able to link to the original Otago Daily Times article as i was wondering why they wanted a road in the Hollyford other than for mining.

  8. randal 8

    peanut brownlie and his mates are fully comitted going forward to anything that is so far in the future they will be out of office before anyone realised that all of a sudden nothing happened.

  9. Peter Wilson 9

    That area really is the Forgotten Coast. I’ve been through the area a bit, down the coast and also right through the Red Hills area. The Te Ara article isn’t quite correct – the mining company managed a fair bit of prospecting, and some of the bulldozers are still rusting away on the slopes of Red Mountain at the head of the Pyke.

    It’s a bit of country that people I know would fight pretty hard to defend.

    • RedLogix 9.1

      Yes.. me included. It’s really the last piece of real lowland wilderness left in NZ and it’s damn well going to stay that way.

      It’s kind of heartening to read vto expressing the same sentiment above. This one transcends tribal politics.

  10. tc 10

    Gerry’s determined to unload all of his vanadalistic policies in a single term, then sit back and enjoy the paybacks from mining/polluters/infrastructure players for the rest of his years.

    The man’s an arrogant SOB who thrives on upsetting people….and bullying them if he can……Johnny clown lacks the guts and authority to take him and others on even if he wants to and they know it.

    The masterplan has another page revealed……next term if these jokers are still in power you may as place a ‘FOR SALE’ sign on NZ.

  11. Macro 11

    “The masterplan has another page revealed next term if these jokers are still in power you may as place a ‘FOR SALE’ sign on NZ.”
    Nothing surer

  12. prism 12

    Just Brownlee himself on a beefy tractor would carve a great brown slash through our luscious, hard to resist national parks. We’ve burned down the forests to make farms and killed the huia, what can we do next? Let’s act like real men who don’t pussyfoot around and get the job done to make money and jobs!

  13. swimmer 13

    I can’t believe he wants to destroy our wilderness. There are so few unspoiled places on earth and he wants to bulldoze ours. 🙁

  14. vto 14

    Very nice week plus to be in this neck of the woods. Blue skies, virgin environment, warm seas … see you there

    p.s. I’ll leave a few booby traps for Brownlees road

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