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Waiho River danger notice “a shock”

18 October 2002

Media Release

Waiho River danger notice “a shock”


Mike Warren, spokesperson for Global Sanctuaries, owner of Black Sheep Lodge, said today that he was “shocked and distressed” by the extraordinary Government decision to issue a Civil Defence hazard notice warning the public of the likelihood of fatal flooding on the South bank of the Waiho river near Franz Joseph.

The warning is likely to be accompanied by forced relocation of businesses and residents in the area within a few weeks, possibly without compensation.

Mr Warren said his business stood to lose millions of dollars if it was not given assistance with buying safer land, moving buildings and covering the loss of income just as the tourist season was kicking off.

“The safety of residents and visitors is critical. If the risk is really that high, then we must move, and as soon as possible.

“But it is unfair that we should carry all the costs of the move. The Government must accept responsibility for its decision.

“We want to continue with our business, and Franz Joseph needs the accommodation to maintain its tourist trade,” Mr Warren said.

He said it would be hard to find a site as picturesque as the current location, and the task of moving the accommodation buildings and other facilities would be expensive and time consuming.

“It’s easy for the Government to make the Civil Defence declaration to ensure it avoids negligence liability claims, but the local authority and we ourselves need to make it happen.

“It’s not too much to ask the same people who switched it from being safe to dangerous to pay at least part of the costs of implementing their decision.

“All we now ask is fair consideration by the Government and adequate funding of our move,” Mr Warren said.

Ends

For further information contact:

Mike Warren; 021 954 665


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