Hon Dr Nick Smith
Minister of Conservation
Independent advice sought on monorail financial viability
The Department of Conservation has commissioned an independent financial viability report into the Fiordland monorail proposal being promoted by Riverstone Holdings Limited at the request of Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith.
“This is the most significant concession ever sought on public conversation land and the longest monorail in the world. I want to ensure my decision is based on the best quality advice,” Dr Smith says.
“I’m satisfied with the advice to date from my department on the proposal but I also need to decide if the project is financially viable. This is beyond the expertise of my department which is why I have asked for DOC to commission an independent financial viability report.
“This is an ambitious $200 million project. If it fails it could leave the department and taxpayer with a half-built or under-utilised structure through public conservation land.
“A bond can help manage these risks but it would never be possible to completely reverse the effects of such a construction. I need an independent robust assessment of the project’s financial viability to enable me to make a good decision.”
The Minister expects to receive the additional advice in February and will make his decision once he has given the report careful consideration.