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?

Leave a Comment

Show Tags

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bring back the Mental Health Commission
    The People’s Mental Health Review is a much needed wake up call for the Government on mental health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I applaud their proposal to restore a Mental Health Commission and their call for ...
    1 day ago
  • And the band played on…
    Making Amy Adams the Housing Minister five months out from the election is just the orchestra playing on as National’s Titanic housing crisis slips below the waves – along with the hopes and dreams of countless Kiwi families, says Labour’s ...
    1 day ago
  • Hotel no place for children in care
    ...
    4 days ago
  • Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed
    Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?Sir Humphrey: Nothing.Minister Smith: Nothing?Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare ...
    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows many New Zealanders are worse off under National
    The latest inflation data from Statistics New Zealand shows that too many New Zealanders are now worse off under the National Government, said Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson “Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is now running at 2.2 per cent, and ...
    5 days ago
  • Another emergency housing grant blow out
      Emergency housing grants data released today show another blow out in spending on putting homeless people up in motels, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    5 days ago
  • Families struggle as hardship grants increase
    The considerable increase in hardship grants shows that more and more Kiwi families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for basic schooling, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    5 days ago
  • More tinkering, no leadership from Nats on immigration
    National’s latest tinkering with the immigration system is another attempt to create the appearance of action without actually doing anything meaningful, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    6 days ago
  • Suicide figures make for grim reading
    The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “If you do the ...
    1 week ago
  • Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions
    The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour welcomes ...
    1 week ago
  • DHB’s forced to make tough choices
    The Minister of Health today admitted that the country’s District Health Boards were having to spend more than their ring fenced expenditure on Mental Health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “The situation is serious with Capital and Coast ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats break emergency housing pledge – deliver just five more places
    Despite National’s promises of 2,200 emergency housing beds, just 737 were provided in the March Quarter, an increase of only five from six months earlier, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Research underlines need for KiwiBuild
    New research showing the social and fiscal benefits of homeownership underlines the need for a massive government-backed building programme like KiwiBuild, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Social data security review too little, too late
    The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions raised on CERA conflicts
    With the admission that three more former CERA staff members are under suspicion of not appropriately managing conflicts of interest related to the Canterbury rebuild, it’s imperative that CERA’s successor organisation Ōtākaro fronts up to Parliamentary questions, says Labour’s Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
    Labour will build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis there, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Housing in the Hutt ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
    This wonderfully talented man has been claimed by Australia, but how I remember John Clarke is as a young Wellington actor who performed satirical pieces in a show called “Knickers” at Downstage Theatre. The show featured other future luminaries like ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Valedictory Speech
    Te papa pounamu Aotearoa NZ Karanga karanga karanga; Nga tupuna Haere haere haere; Te kahui ora te korowai o tenei whare; E tu e tu ... tutahi tonu Ki a koutou oku hoa mahi ki Te Kawanatanga; Noho mai noho ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
    The fact that the State Services Commission has referred the CERA conflict of interest issue to the Serious Fraud Office is a positive move, but one that raises serious questions about the Government’s oversight of the rebuild, says Labour Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
    Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Free trade backers are simply out of touch
    Are the backers of free trade out of touch with public opinion? This was the question asked when the Chartered Accountants launched their Future of Trade study. I was astonished by the answer in a room of free trade enthusiasts ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • John Clarke aka Fred Dagg will be missed by all Kiwis
    The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I grew up with Fred Dagg and I am ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
    A commitment to full employment and a more transparent process to provide market certainty are the hallmarks of Labour’s proposals for a new approach to monetary policy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s plan for monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt drops ball on Masters Games housing squeeze
    Families currently living in emergency accommodation face being forced out onto the street as motel accommodation in Auckland is filled up by contestants and visitors of the World Masters Games in coming weeks, says Labours social development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • State inquiry for Nga Morehu – The Survivors of State Abuse
    The Prime Minister must show humanitarian leadership and launch an independent inquiry into historic claims of abuse of children who were in State care, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coleman – ‘overwhelmed by disinterest’ and ‘conked out’
    Today’s trenchant criticism of the Government’s health policy by Ian Powell the executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists must trigger action by the Minister, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on Syria
    Like the rest of the world, I have been horrified at the chemical attack on innocent Syrians that led to the deaths of so many men, women and children,” says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “The deliberate attack on civilians as ...
    3 weeks ago
  • The hard truth about that soft drink ad
    I am relieved that Pepsi has pulled its ridiculous commercial that obscenely co-opted the #BlackLivesMatter movement. At the very least, it was an awkward failure that tried too hard to be something it could never be. At its worst, it ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 weeks ago
  • Journalism Matters: Interesting the public in the public interest
    Last week I launched two policies to support Kiwi journalism because as Bill Moyers put it, “the quality of democracy and the quality of journalism is deeply intertwined.” Journalism matters because it’s how we discover what’s happening in our world, ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago
  • Homeownership rate hits new low; KiwiBuild needed now
    The homeownership rate has fallen to just 63.1 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand’s newly released Dwelling and Household estimates. That’s down three per cent under National to the lowest level since 1951, confirming the need for Labour’s KiwiBuild ...
    3 weeks ago
  • OECD endorses Labour’s Future of Work approach
    An OECD report released today, highlighting the need for increased support for workers who are made redundant, is a strong endorsement of the direction of Labour’s Future of Work Commission, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “We welcome the OECD’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • The Government knows diddly squat about health funding
    Asked about the funding of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, the Associate Minister of Health was at sea today on the typhoid outbreak, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “When I asked Nicky Wagner who was responsible for the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Nicky Wagner blames disability workers for Govt’s funding failure
    Nicky Wagner displayed disrespect and sheer arrogance when she insulted disability support workers today, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Parata in denial over special education crisis
    Hekia Parata has her head buried in the sand when it comes to the pressure that schools are under as they attempt to cope with an increasing number of children with severe behavioural and other learning support needs, says Labour’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Data-for-funding move hits Privacy roadblock
    The Government’s much-criticised grab for private client data from social service organisations has suffered another defeat after the Privacy Commissioner’s damning report, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “This is a defeat for the Government’s plans to force social ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New research shows need for government-led house building
    Research by economist Shamubeel Eaqub shows the need for the government to lead the building of affordable starter homes, as would happen under Labour’s KiwiBuild policy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Kiwis need answers on typhoid outbreak
      The Ministry of Health wasn’t told about the typhoid outbreak until 11 days after three people from the same church were admitted to hospital, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark.   “It is no longer credible for the Minister ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party gets it wrong again on RMA
    The Māori Party is missing the big picture on National’s Resource Management Act reforms by supporting a fundamentally flawed Bill, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party error own goal on GM
    The Maori Party amendment to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill does not achieve what they say it does on genetic modification, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “Their amendment relates to the new powers given to the Minister to over-ride ...
    3 weeks ago