Club pledges funds to Fiordland battle
The Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand has pledged $15,000 to help the Save Fiordland group fight the proposed developments of a monorail and tunnel in Fiordland.
The club has given the group $1000 and promised a further $14,000 towards a judicial review should either the Fiordland Link Experience or Milford Dart tunnel concession applications be granted.
Save Fiordland chairwoman Daphne Taylor said the money would help fund a potentially costly legal battle against the Conservation Department and the developers of the projects.
Newly elected FMC president Robin McNeill met with Ms Taylor and Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno in Invercargill yesterday and pledged the support of the national association and its 15,000 members.
Mr McNeill said the legal funding was unprecedented, but 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.
Mr McNeill said the applications should have already been declined under existing DOC statutory plans made with full public consultation.
"If the concessions are granted, a precedent will be set which will see the loss of the backcountry throughout New Zealand,” he said.
Ms Taylor said opponents of the developments in Fiordland and Aspiring National Park had to be realistic and prepare for a legal stoush.
"It will either be a matter of judicial review or fighting an appeal against the applicants for the monorail and tunnel projects," she said.
Both outcomes would require a lot of funding and the support of the FMC was welcomed with hopefully more people joining the fight, she said.
The support from a national organisation like the FMC proved opposition to the monorail and tunnel had moved from a NIMBY (not in my backyard) concern to one of national and international significance, Ms Taylor said.
Mrs Cardno said it would be a long, hard battle and the funding from the FMC would be put to good use.
A judicial review or appeal would cost upwards of $100,000, opponents of the developments said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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