Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme Administrator, has met with representatives of the Save Fiordland group from Te Anau and Glenorchy’s Stop the Tunnel group in Dunedin.
The groups are opposing private developers who are seeking concessions from the Department of Conservation to drive a road tunnel between Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks, and a monorail from Queenstown to Te Anau Downs across Snowdon Forest Park.
The former New Zealand Prime Minister expressed concern about the threat to the outstanding natural values of the regions that would be affected and which have World Heritage status, and asked the groups to keep her apprised of further developments regarding the tunnel and the monorail proposals. She also provided advice on liaison with UNESCO.
Ms Clark’s involvement in conservation began during her term as the Minister of Conservation (1987-89) and continued during her time as Prime Minister of New Zealand (1999-2008). A great lover of outdoor pursuits and a frequent user of the National Parks, Ms Clark said she had a lot to do with the natural state of NZ for many years and has a passionate interest in its protection.
The former Prime Minister of New Zealand has been to Fiordland many times and has walked the Routeburn and Hollyford tracks. She said: “I don’t want to see the Routeburn and Hollyford tracks coming out at a tunnel portal.”
Ms Clark promised a statement of support for the campaign opposing the projects should DOC grant a concession to either of the proposals.