Today's letter: Decision time
Christmas is but days away, the time Government traditionally releases controversial decisions.
So we can expect the release of decisions on the tunnel and monorail proposals in the Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Will the Conservation Minister have concerns that both Southland and Otago Conservation Boards vigorously challenged DOC and the minister on DOC's view that the applications were not inconsistent with the relevant planning documents?
The boards were responsible for preparing the planning documents and gave them the "flavour or intent" they wanted implemented, so they should know.
Similar concerns are shared by a number of members of the New Zealand Conservation Authority, but they can't speak out due to the "guidance" DOC gave the authority.
Will the minister have concerns that DOC's own independent advisers challenged much of the material in both applications and the assessments made.
Will the minister have concerns that several hundred submitters shared the concerns of the Conservation Boards and DOC's independent advisers?
Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson said intentions to grant concessions by the Department of Conservation for both the tunnel and monorail projects were a triggering mechanism for consultation. They did not indicate approval for the projects.
Let the minister deliver a decision that shows that to be the case.
For the minister to announce the concession applications have been declined would question the ability of DOC to process such concessions applications. A challenging outcome for the minister.
What I want for Christmas? The right decisions, having considered the facts in the right way, for the right reasons.
Save Fiordland Inc
The Southland Times