Deed Administration is a safe pair of hands
The Ruapehu Skifield Stakeholders Association have submitted a new proposal to MBIE and PwC to restore Ruapehu Alpine Lifts out of Liquidation and into trading under Deed Administration.
Deed Administration is a supervisory period during which a company’s affairs can be independently monitored (by a Deed Administrator) while the company focuses on improving operational efficiency, upgrading governance and organisation appropriate external capitalisation. The Life Pass Holders have volunteered (through surveys conducted by MBIE and independently by the Stakeholders Association) to contribute a reactivation fee or settlement payment that would help stabilise and support the skifields.
There is considerable work that needs to be completed during the Deed Administration period to set up the skifields for intergenerational stability including long-term financial stability, ropeway and asset planning (including maintenance, renewals and doing less with more), contingency planning for disruption (such as volcanic activity and weather variability), improved operational efficiency, modernised governance with broader opportunities for stakeholder engagement, and incorporating relationships with local Iwi deeply into ongoing operational planning and activity.
Community Ownership is the most robust model
The de-facto privatisation proposed by MBIE throughout the process is not fit for purpose for the wider context of the Ruapehu skifields. The skifields recently enjoyed their seventieth anniversary and have traded through many years of ups and downs. The community ownership model has proven durable (until recent Covid lockdowns and government over lending).
Community ownership is the most appropriate model for the Ruapehu skifields because it balances the need to respect the mountain and local community with a passion for long-term survival of the operations. An evolution of the model may involve a mix of Iwi ownership, external investment, and modernised ski community investment (through mechanisms such as equity crowdfunding or an initial public offering).
A key aspect of ownership participation and investment from across the ski community is the loyalty and willingness of the ski community to invest money and resources to support the skifield in both good times and in bad.
Community ownership and a profit re-investment mandate is compatible with a long term managed retreat because the ski community will remain committed to skifield operations at whatever scale suits the larger context, rather than having a purely profit driven operator demanding an expanded footprint simply to meet the demands of generating a return on investment.
Local Iwi have raised concerns
We understand that Ngāti Tūwharetoa (and potentially other local Iwi) have recently written to MBIE, DOC, the Treaty Office and the relevant Ministers expressing concerns about the liquidation and proposed asset sales. The ski community takes these concerns very seriously as we are acutely aware that the skifields are guests on the mountain.
Mt Ruapehu is located within a Dual-World Heritage National Park. The structure, ownership, and future of the skifields needs to be carefully considered in the broader context of local Iwi agreements with the Crown, upcoming Tongariro National Park Negotiations, and Conservation Operating Concessions.
Back to basics
The Ruapehu Skifield Stakeholders Association represents a broad mix of life pass holders, ski club members, season pass holders, local residents, and local tourism operators. The association was established to preserve and promote alpine sports in the Ruapehu region. Recently the association has opposed the government-led privatisation of the skifields into commercial hands because such a process is not compatible with long-term durability and operational stability of the skifields.
Deed Administration - Letter to MBIE and PwC
Deed Administration - Tracked Changes
Deed Administration - Clean Version