Federated Mountain Clubs commits to fight monorail and tunnel
Invercargill, 25 September 2012
Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand, representing over 15,000 trampers and climbers, today pledged $15,000 to the Save Fiordland campaign, which is preparing to take legal action should the Minister of Conservation grant concessions for either the Milford Dart tunnel, or Fiordland Experience monorail concession applications.
The legal funding is unprecedented, but FMC President, Mr McNeill said the Federation had little option. “While $15,000 was a lot of money, these projects strike at the heart of everything the Federation stands for”, he said.
“These applications should have already been declined under existing DOC statutory plans made with full public consultation. That they continue makes a mockery of democracy. If these applications are granted, they will ruin special family tramping and hunting areas. Say goodbye to World Heritage recognition. And because of the precedent they will set, say goodbye to the backcountry throughout New Zealand!” Mr McNeill said.
Mr McNeill said trampers and climbers were not against development for tourism. But development needed to respect and maintain New Zealanders’ natural heritage for everyone to enjoy.
Mr McNeill remained optimistic that DOC would not grant the concessions. In which case the money would still be needed to fight a likely appeal by the applicants against DOC’s decision, he said.
“It’s a mess either way. We’d sooner go tramping than fight legal battles”, he said, “but that’s not a choice right now”.
Mr McNeill said that it was critical that the Save Fiordland campaign succeeded and urged all New Zealanders to also donate as over $100,000 may be needed to take a judicial review.
Donations may be made to Save Fiordland’s website www.savefiordland.org.nz.
For more information:
Photo: Sue McKee, Hutt Valley Tramping Club – FMC is a sponsor of the Kea Conservation Trust
Federated Mountain Clubs of NZ, PO Box 1604, Wellington 6140, www.fmc.org.nz