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Climb Every Mountain

Media Release

30 May 2006

Climb Every Mountain

New Zealand First is disturbed that access to Mt Tarawera is rapidly becoming limited to those who can afford to pay, and is calling on the Government to look into the exclusive nature of the tourism operation there.

“Free and unfettered access to public space is essential if we are to retain our unique New Zealand lifestyle,” said Conservation spokesperson Doug Woolerton.

“In the case of Mt Tarawera, the prices have continued to rise since a tourism company was granted the lease in 2000, to the point where an expensive, guided half-day tour is the only option for people wanting to climb the Rotorua mountain.

“The company owners have no interest in allowing access to ordinary New Zealanders, and are instead focusing on attracting international tourists.

“New Zealand First takes a very dim view of this attitude. The loss of free foot access is a sad development for New Zealanders because the price is too much for many people. It also sends the wrong signals in relation to other Maori trusts that are guardians of iconic parts of New Zealand.

“This issue is especially sensitive right now given the Treaty negotiations over the Waikato River. We need to be categorically assured that a similar fate does not await users of that river.

“New Zealand First is seeking clarification and assurance from the Government, on behalf of ordinary New Zealanders,” said Mr Woolerton.


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