web analytics

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.


    • 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.


  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…


      • 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


  • September benefit figures disappointing
    The Government is out of touch with the reality that fewer people are going off the benefit and into employment or study, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The quarterly benefit numbers for September are concerning. They show that ...
    3 days ago
  • MFAT officials refuse to back Prime Minister on Saudi sheep claims
    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    4 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    4 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    5 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    5 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    5 days ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    5 days ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    6 days ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    6 days ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    7 days ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    7 days ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Working people carrying the can for the Government
    Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Breast cancer drugs should be available
    Labour supports the Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition’s campaign for better access to cancer treatments as more patients are denied what is freely available in Australia, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “In the last three years, PHARMAC’s funding has been ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Community law centres get much needed support from banks
      New Zealand’s network of community law centres, who operate out of more than 140 locations across the country, have today received a much needed boost, says Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “After more than 8 years of static funding ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Just 18 affordable homes in Auckland SHAs – It’s time for KiwiBuild
    New data revealing just 18 affordable homes have been built and sold to first home buyers in Auckland’s Special Housing Areas show National’s flagship housing policy has failed and Labour’s comprehensive housing plan is needed, says Leader of the Opposition ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Pasifika wins big in Auckland elections
    The Labour Party’s Pacific Candidates who stood for local elections in Auckland came out on top with 14 winners, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio. “Our candidates have won seats on one ward, four local boards, two ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seven7 hikoi to stop sexual violence
    2 weeks ago
  • Road toll passes 2013 total
    The road toll for the year to date has already passed the total for the whole of 2013, raising serious questions about the Government’s underfunding of road safety, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “According to the Ministry of Transport, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bay principals slam charter school decision
    A letter from Hawke’s Bay principals to the Education Minister slams the lack of consultation over the establishment of a charter school in the region and seriously calls into question the decision making going on under Hekia Parata’s watch, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government needs to act on voter turnout crisis
    With fewer than 40 per cent of eligible voters having their say in the 2016 local elections, the Government must get serious and come up with a plan to increase voter turnout, says Labour’s Local Government Spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inquiry presents solutions to homelessness – Govt must act
    Labour, the Green Party and the Māori Party are calling on the Government to immediately adopt the 20 recommendations set out in today's Ending Homelessness in New Zealand report. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A good night for Labour’s local government candidates
    It has been a good night for Labour in the local government elections. In Wellington, Justin Lester became the first Labour mayor for 30 years, leading a council where three out of four Labour candidates were elected. Both of Labour’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More contenders for fight clubs
    Allegations of fight clubs spreading to other Serco-run prisons must be properly investigated says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister runs for cover on job losses
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s refusal to show leadership and provide assurances over the future of the Māori Land Court is disappointing, given he is spearheading contentious Maori land reforms which will impact on the functions of the Court, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwisaver contribution holiday not the break workers were looking for
    The number of working New Zealanders needing to stop Kiwisaver payments is another sign that many people are not seeing benefit from growth in the economy, says Grant Robertson Labour’s Finance spokesperson. "There has been an increase of 14 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Fight Club failings
    The Corrections Minister must take full responsibility for the widespread management failings within Mt Eden prison, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Rethink welcomed
    The Labour Party is pleased that Craig Foss is reconsidering the return of New Zealand soldiers buried in Malaysia, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “For the families of those who lie there, this will a welcome move. The ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Disappointment over UN vote
    Helen Clark showed her characteristic drive and determination in her campaign to be UN Secretary General, and most New Zealanders will be disappointed she hasn't been selected, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. "Helen Clark has been an ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Māori need answers on Land Court job losses
    Māori landowners, Māori employees and Treaty partners need answers after a Ministry of Justice consultation document has revealed dozens of roles will be disestablished at the Māori Land Court, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Key’s ‘efficiencies’ = DHBs’ pain
          John Key’s talk of ‘efficiencies’ ignores the fact the Government is chronically underfunding health to the tune of $1.7 billion, says Labour’s Acting Health spokesperson Dr David Clark.       ...
    3 weeks ago
  • More than 1,300 schools to face budget cuts
    The latest Ministry of Education figures reveal thousands of schools will face cuts to funding under National’s new operations grant funding model, says Labour's Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speculation fever spreads around country
    House prices in Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga are going off as a result of uncontrolled property speculation spilling over from the Auckland market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Speculators who have been priced out of Auckland are now fanning ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand lags on aid targets
      The National Government needs to live up to its commitments and allocate 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on development assistance, says Labour’s spokesperson on Pacific Climate Change Su’a William Sio.  “The second State of the Environment Report ...
    3 weeks ago
  • War on drugs needs more troops
    The Minister of Police must urgently address the number of officers investigating illegal drugs if she is serious about making a dent in the meth trade, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “Answers from written questions from the Minister show ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Doctors strike symptom of health cuts
    The notice of strike action issued by the junior doctors today is the result of years of National’s cuts to the health system, says Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson Dr David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government starves RNZ into selling Auckland asset
    Just weeks after TVNZ opened its refurbished Auckland head office costing more than $60 million, RNZ (Radio New Zealand) has been forced to put its Auckland office on the market to keep itself afloat, says Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Government must be more than a bystander on the economy
    Despite what he might think John Key is not a political commentator, but actually a leader in a Government who needs to take responsibility for the conditions that mean a rise in interest rates, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “John ...
    3 weeks ago