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Greens oppose Queenstown Gondola proposal

28 September 2000

Greens oppose Queenstown Gondola proposal

Green Party co-leader and Conservation spokesperson Jeanette Fitzsimons today said the Greens opposed a proposal to build a gondola link between Queenstown and Milford Sound.

The proposal by Skyline Enterprises and Ngai Tahu is to build a 13km long aerial gondola up the Caples River Valley, over the McKellar Saddle and over the Greenstone Valley to end between lakes Gunn and Fergus.

"While the Greens believe firmly in the benefits of eco tourism in New Zealand, we believe the gondola proposal would be too great an intrusion - both visually and physically - on a very sensitive and beautiful environment," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Ms Fitzsimons said it was unacceptable for forest to be cleared in and around national parks to make way for the roads that would be needed to build the gondola.

"We are concerned about the infrastructure that would be required to both build and maintain this gondola and we feel the natural beauty of the area would be spoiled by such a massive construction."

Ms Fitzsimons said it was the wilderness experience that attracted tourists and a gondola would detract from this.

"What this proposal will do is to concentrate tourism on the two areas at each end of the gondola, which are already heavily used by tourists, while cutting the smaller regions like Te Anau out of the loop. Concentrating tourism rather than spreading it over other regions concentrates the impacts on the environment and works against regional development," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"This gondola is exactly the type of artificial and commercial intrusion that many tourists who visit the Greenstone Valley and the Fiordland National Park would be seeking to avoid," said Ms Fitzsimons.

Ends

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 470 6661, 07 868 6641, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 440 090

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