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Milford Dart Welcomes DOC Decision

MEDIA STATEMENT

Friday 15 August 2008

Milford Dart Welcomes DOC Decision

Milford Dart welcomes a decision from the Department of Conservation to allow the company’s concession application to construct a tunnel linking Queenstown with Milford Sound to continue to be processed.

"Managing Director Tom Elworthy says "Milford Dart is pleased to be making progress and looks forward to working through DOC's concession process.

“The company is committed to this process and recognises the critical role it plays in ensuring the management and protection of the country’s conservation estate.”

Milford Dart launched its proposal to halve the return Queenstown-Milford Sound travel time in December 2005. Since then the company has been involved in lengthy DOC processes. It has commissioned extensive reports on all environmental aspects of the project.

The single lane, 10-kilometre Dart Passage tunnel would be accessed by approved coaches. The tunnel would run between the Routeburn and Hollyford valleys under two National Parks.

Mr Elworthy believes that while it would leave a small environmental imprint, it would significantly improve access to one of the country’s iconic tourism destinations.

“The Dart Passage will be one of the largest tourism infrastructure investments the country has seen in decades,” he says. “ Given the headwinds the tourism sector faces now and in the medium term, and our increasing need to reduce carbon emissions, we believe it’s more important than ever for Milford Dart to proceed to help keep New Zealand tourism competitive in the world market. “


ENDS

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