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Watershed Meeting Statement

Issued at 8:30pm 20 June 2023 following the Watershed Meeting:

The Ruapehu Skifield Stakeholders Association members and team are acutely aware tonight of the emotions and livelihoods of those that depend on the continued operations on Mt Ruapehu and the uncertainty created as a result of the recent insolvency process and the lack of full and final resolution from the Watershed meeting today. The local community want a speedy resolution to the uncertainty and all of us want nothing more than an outstanding 2023 Winter Season and many many more to come.

We are deeply disappointed about the process leading up to, and the outcome of today’s Watershed meeting, which has resulted in the future of Whakapapa and Turoa remaining uncertain.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Monday:

“Ruapehu is a very significant part of the economy in the central North Island. A lot of people's jobs depend on it”

We agree with this sentiment and call on the Government to step up.

The Stakeholders Association’s Deed of Company Arrangement to reboot, reset, and revitalise Ruapehu Alpine Lifts wasn’t accepted today, mainly due to a lack of the Government financial support (as had been offered to other bids). And the Government’s preferred option for a Pre-pack Liquidation did not have (1) the concession arrangements in place with sufficient confidence on consultation and progress to give comfort to creditors and (2) did not have an attractive enough offer to life pass holders to garner enough votes (based on the feedback that we received).

There are options that remain, and it is absolutely feasible for Whakapapa and Turoa to continue planned operations this winter, and long term. The simplest option being for the Government to offer the same financial support offered to PTL and WHL, through debt forgiveness and loans, to be offered to RAL in return for equity and/or new governance.

The Prime Minister has said this week:

“If there is a way forward that allows the skifields to continue to operate, then yes, the Government should be involved in those discussions”.

We call upon the Government to stand by its word, and facilitate the discussion, forgive the debts (as it has indicated it will), and take the necessary actions to allow winter 2023 to be successful for all who live in the shadow of the Maunga.

Based on feedback from thousands of members, the Stakeholders Association worked hard over the last six months to at least present the possibility today of continued community ownership. We are now committed to working with the Government, all parties, and stakeholders to find sustainable long term solutions. RAL thrived for many years and there needs to be the same inter-generational certainty for whatever the next evolution is for the Ruapehu skifields.

The directors of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts, who oversaw the company going into voluntary administration, have now made an application to the Auckland High Court to liquidate the company and operations. This is set down to be heard at 10:00am tomorrow, Wednesday 21 June 2023.

Act now Prime Minister

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