Request for urgent meeting regarding the ski fields at Mt Ruapehu.
Dear Minister Allen,
I write in relation to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL), which was placed into voluntary administration on 11 October 2022.
The Ruapehu Skifields Stakeholders Association (Stakeholders Association) is a community advocacy group with a mandated purpose to preserve and promote alpine sports in the Ruapehu Region, we represent thousands of mountain users and a significant number of Life Pass Holders in RAL.
The Stakeholders Association is gravely concerned regarding the recently released details of the process and fairness of treatment regarding the Government’s preferred acquirers of the skifield assets.
I would like to request an urgent meeting with you to discuss the conduct of Kānoa - Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit to date in this matter, pertaining to the preferential and potentially unethical treatment of the two preferred bidders, specifically:
The MBIE Liquidation Proposal represents a huge, short-term value transfer by the NZ taxpayers to the two bidders which was not offered to the other two parties by MBIE (Tūroa Alpine and the Stakeholders Association).
MBIE has significantly de-risked the investment decision for the two preferred bidders by writing off its $23 million in full.
The provision of fresh taxpayer capital via two large loan facilities from MBIE for the preferred bidders.
Preferred bidders NewCo Establishment Costs being covered by the Government via RAL (through the Post-VA Loans) prior to completion of proper assessment of the proposals. Importantly, when the Stakeholders Association asked for similar treatment of our due diligence costs, we were refused. And we have since been informed that such treatment was also not offered to Tūroa Alpine. On the other hand, Stakeholders Association has advised we would replay $8 million of the existing taxpayer debt back to MBIE, take on the Concession Remediation Obligations (both old and new assets), give Iwi ownership in the skifields, and asked for no additional Government loan facilities.
Life Pass Holders
Apart from the two major creditors, Life Pass Holders (LPH) are the only creditor group not being made whole by the two preferred bidders.
The Stakeholders Association LPH proposal allows continued access to both sides of the mountain at a modest renewal fee so as a major creditor group they are well treated and able to continue enjoying the alpine environment for decades to come.
DOC Concession Licences:
What consideration has been given by the preferred bidders to Iwi considerations generally and, specifically, the Central North Island Waitangi Tribunal claim?
Can get the licences be assigned by 30 June involving the preferred bidders, DOC and Iwi agreeing?
We that understand local Iwi may be considering legal action in this matter. As guardians of the mountain, the skifield operations depend entirely on good relationships with the local Iwi. The ski community are guests on the mountain. If the local Iwi object to concession transfer or propose legal action, we have informed them (via correspondence with relevant chairpersons) that the ski community will stand by them. This is a decision that could echo for generations. It is too important to be rushed.
Yours Sincerely Jason Platt Chairman Ruapehu Skifields Stakeholders Association