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Grassroots mobilise against Dart tunnel passage

Grassroots mobilise against Dart tunnel passage

Last December we brought you the rather bewildering news that the Department of Conservation had agreed to a tunnel linking Mt Aspiring and Fiordland National Park.

Mt Aspiring Dart Passage TunnelThat was despite conflicts with the DOC’s general policy on building roads through Mt Aspiring.

What is the point of having a Department of Conservation if it doesn’t actually conserve anything?

The proposal would see developer Milford Dart Ltd build the Dart Passage Tunnel for private use.

Now Glenorchy resident Patricia Jantien is heading up a petition against the development, targeting conservation minister Kate Wilkinson, who has the power to approve it, and prime minister John Key.

She says endangered species of native birds and bats would lose their habitat, and pristine native bush destroyed.

"The proposed plan violates the National Park Policy of New Zealand saying that no new roads will be built in National Parks. 

"The Tourism New Zealand slogan 100% Pure will become a worldwide lie if the construction of this bus tunnel would be granted."

The petition is aiming for 12,000 signatures, of which more than 9,000 have been achieved.

Among the more recent signatories are Kate Belcher ("There is already a perfectly acceptable route to access Milford Sound. Leave Paradise alone"), Bruce Scott ("I consider the notion that the road should be built through National Park for the benefit of private enterprise is repulsive – totally against the philosophy that created the national parks. The current route to Milford is fascinating & part of the reason people go there") and Michael Shaw ("One of the reasons this area has such pulling power in tourism is for the fact that it is what it is, one of the last remote and rugged destinations left on earth").

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