Today's letter: A cunning plan
Clarry Stevenson (October 22) and others are enthusiastic for the Haast-Hollyford road - there seems to be a hearts and minds campaign going on for it.
Since only one tenth of our New Zealand visitor arrivals go to the West Coast, and half will go to Queenstown via the Haast Pass, one twentieth will visit Te Anau via the road. This will do nothing for Te Anau or lessen the bottleneck at Milford.
The road is a cunning plan to create taxpayer-funded access to a mineral deposit. This is the $100 billion crysotile asbestos district - the largest ore body ever found in New Zealand - in the Red Mountains of North West Otago.
Royalties here are one tenth of what they are anywhere else in the world, and a foreign miner would open cut the deposit rather than block mining it out underground. But mostly it is the world's largest deposits of gas in the Great South Basin which should become our mineral development focus.
I agree with Clarry - the monorail is mad. The tunnel as proposed is an engineering impossibility given the geology. It would go through three large earth faults with incompetent rock between. But if put higher up it would be just 5km long, and put two of the faults close to the start and end of the tunnel. It could be made 100 per cent invisible to Routeburn walkers, and if made one-way only to Milford, Te Anau would get the overnight accommodation boost it has been unfairly lacking for nearly 40 years.
The Southland Times