28 Dec 2013

Fiordland monorail decision delayed

9:45 pm on 28 December 2013

Conservation Minister Nick Smith has delayed a decision on whether a monorail should be built through conservation land in Fiordland, saying he wants more advice.

The Department of Conservation recommended in October that the project go ahead, but the final decision is up to Dr Smith.

He previously said he wanted to make a decision by Christmas, but now wants more information about the financial viability of the project.

Dr Smith has asked DoC to commission an independent report, saying the department does not have the expertise to produce the report.

He said that if the $200 millon project failed, it could leave a half-built structure on conservation land, so he needs to be sure he has the best advice possible.

Dr Smith said he expects to have the report by February.

The Save Fiordland group says the project is fatally flawed and cannot succeed economically.