We're received permission from the Ruapehu Mountain Clubs Association to share their open letter to the Minister for Regional Development. For clarity, the Alpine Clubs don't have any formal relationship with the Stakeholders Association, they are simply another concerned group of mountain lovers who want to see the skifields well run and the mountain itself respected.
RUAPEHU MOUNTAIN CLUBS ASSOCIATION (INC.) To: Hon Kiritapu Allan (Minister for Regional Development) Requesting Better Transparency in MBIE’s process to find an operator for Ruapehu Ski Fields.
Dear Minister Allan,
The Ruapehu Mountain Clubs Association (RMCA) is a key stakeholder of the Mt Ruapehu region, representing 46 tramping and ski clubs based on Mt Ruapehu. The clubs are integral to the fabric of Iwikau and Whakapapa villages within Tongariro National Park, some being over 100 years old. They comprise about 15,000 active members. The clubs and their members value the region, spend in the area, and thus economically support the area.
I write to you in your position as Minister for Regional Development in relation to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) being placed in voluntary administration last year. Our last correspondence with you was in February to which you provided a positive response.
Although media reporting on Thursday and Friday of last week was misleading and unhelpful it has raised significant concerns about MBIE's involvement.
RMCA note that the appointed Administrator for the Voluntary Administration process for RAL is PWC. However, we note and question why MBIE have in effect 'taken over' much of the process. Case in point; the proposals were called for by MBIE and reportedly have only been reviewed by MBIE. There appears to have been no or minimal consultation to date with key stakeholders, most importantly local Iwi.
RMCA notes that MBIE is a key creditor, but has not attended any creditor committee meeting (as per the letter to RMCA from Hon Minister Allan, 2nd May), and is the requestor and only reviewer for proposals from potential operators. This situation raises concerns of transparency, independence, and fairness.
Since MBIE's apparent taking over the process, the process appears to have significantly, and we believe, detrimentally slowed. Case in point; although the season pass campaign was announced 2nd March to 'soon' go on sale, and thus help to fund circa $5-$6m. It is now well into May; the snow has arrived and there is no season pass campaign to help fund RAL or a new operator.
It is unclear what the difference is between the role of MBIE and PWC in the VA process of RAL. It appears to be an unnecessary duplication and additional cost to NZ taxpayers.
RAL is a not-for-profit public entity operating in a dual world heritage park. RMCA asks that the involvement of MBIE in the process to find appropriate operator/s be more respectful and transparent to the importance of the area and the relevant communities.
I and the RMCA Council look forward to your response.
Linda Danen President
Ruapehu Mountain Clubs Association
Download the RMCA's letter to the Minister here:
Template letter to your MP here: