Hollyford road idea ‘nuts’

By Laura Mills

A high profile group says the idea of a Haast-Hollyford road is so “nuts” it will “kill itself in due course”.
Federated Mountain Clubs, with over 15,000 members, said the road would be too steep, too expensive, and not one politician backed it.
President Robin McNeill said his club was not putting much effort into opposing the Westland District Property Ltd proposal “because we feel we don’t have to — it will kill itself in due course”.
“We have written to each Southland and Westland district councillor with such advice,” Mr McNeill said.
He said the whole idea belonged to the last century. It was economically unsound, would not provide any useful additional sight-seeing for tourists, would displace visitations to other, existing places and would not improve access.
It would also ruin the Olivine Wilderness Area.
Mr McNeill claimed the real cost of the road would be in the order of $1 billion, possibly $1.5 billion, whereas the property company’s backers say it would cost $220 million: “Goodness knows how the Westland District Council’s consultants dreamed up their number.”
The surveyed road was far too steep in places to build a road, he said.
“It would have to meander away from the road boundary in several major places, at least if anyone is to ever drive up the road. To build a road in a national park is not going to get consent.”
It would also be impossible to maintain. Te Anau emergency services already struggled to respond to car accidents on the Milford Road, and were often at near crisis point with recruiting volunteers without having another high-risk road to worry about.
“Our view is that the idea is nuts, and when the numbers get crunched for real, instead of some overpaid consultant waving his/her arms in the air to get a price, no local body politician will have a bar of it either,” Mr McNeill said.