Sunday, January 28, 2024

David Farrar: The Cathedral Cove scandal

Radio NZ reports:

The Department of Conservation has conceded there is no guarantee a walkway to cathedral cove will ever reopen but expects to know what may be possible by the middle of the year.

The walking track to the popular coromandel tourist destination was closed in February 2023 after it was badly damaged in extreme weather, including cyclone gabrielle.

Over the next few months the Department of Conservation (doc) will consult on options for a resilient safe track.

I was unaware until recently that the track to Cathedral Cove has been closed for a year. That's bad enough, but DOC are now saying that they won't even make a decision on how to proceed until September this year – almost two years after the weather damage.

Cathedral Cove is an iconic destination for New Zealanders and tourists. Having it inaccessible by land for years while DOC dithers should not be acceptable. A reasonable time-frame would be decide on how to best repair it within say three to six months and get it reopened within nine to 12 months max.

But now we are facing it being closed for years, if not indefinitely. This is devastating to local businesses and the community, let alone all those who now can't get to go there.

The core business of DOC is repairing tracks. It shouldn't need three lots of consultants reports.

The land was donated to the Crown so that it would be open for public access. DOC's job is to facilitate that access, not block it. It is ridiculous that they need 18 months just to make a decision.

This is a good opportunity for the new Government to show they are a Government of making things happen, rather than endless discussion. They should press for the track to be re-opened by next summer at the very very latest.

David Farrar runs Curia Market Research, a specialist opinion polling and research agency, and the popular Kiwiblog where this article was sourced. He previously worked in the Parliament for eight years, serving two National Party Prime Ministers and three Opposition Leaders.


Robrt Arthur said...

Always struck me as vastly over rated even when few others about cluttering the view. I suspect the real worry is that, quite apart from danger to the blind on the track, DOC afraid to facilitate access to a potentially dangerous site, and the likely consequent endless litigation.
Far more splendid sites, such as the Waitakere Regional Park, have been effectively blocked off for years (except for pigs) as part of a mana boosting exercise and a kauri preservation experiment (despite the fact that the trees can be propagated and hence not at threat.)

Anonymous said...

Yep like Kenepuru Is d in Marlborough Sounds which is barely passable due to storm damage several years ago, and squeezing the lifeblood out of people and communities. And this is not about holiday makers ( although they are affected). This is about people’s livelihoods and well-being.

Hazel Modisett said...

Who cares. Since the Yanks moved in, Hahei has turned into an even shittier version of Disneyland. Overpriced controlled parking, overpriced crappy food, & what used to be a family campground is now treated like a resort, but overpriced & crappy. I spent a lot of time throughout Coro from the 60s to the mid 90s. I wouldn't spend my time or money there now...

Anonymous said...

A certain irony is that SH25A was fixed so that people could get to the effective roadblock at Hahei more quickly.
Public servants tend to procrastinate on decision making to protect their jobs, private enterprise people make better, quicker decisions to move forward.
Or are DOC thinking that given enough time they will not have to make a call as all public land will have been handed to Maori control by the Options Development Group ?
And what is this Government going to do about this undemocratic committee ?

Ray S said...

Good article.
Interesting reading present comments. It's not really anything to do with liking Hahei or not, its about the track and the performance of DOC or lack thereof.

A few public servant salaries would be enough to fix the track properly.
Maybe DOC people.

Anonymous said...

Anon@3.35PM, maybe they're awaiting the Court decision giving the foreshore and seabed to local Maori and then it will be their problem? :)