In a heated meeting and its aftermath RSSA has released this open letter re the possible future of Ruapehu and the implications of yesterdays watershed meeting.
The possible key points as outlined in this letter; the companies looking to purchase both Turoa and Whakapapa have yet to be issued concessions to do so and how long will that process take, plus the implication of Iwi consultation and eventual permission (if needed)
Dear Life Pass Holders and Ski Community,
Disappointingly, the Voluntary Administration has ended in a stalemate with neither resolution A or resolution B passing. Both resolutions had faults which ultimately prevented creditors coming to a consensus requiring voting to pass 50% by number and 75% by dollar value.
The company has been handed back to the directors. We are now calling on the Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to immediately have MBIE write-off its debt and support Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Limited. This would mean RAL is no longer insolvent and can get on with the 2023 season. This would give the local Ruapehu regional community, businesses and workers certainty.
The alternative is that RAL Directors will put RAL into liquidation at 10.00am tomorrow. PwC will likely be appointed the liquidator and execute a sale and purchase agreement with Whakapapa Holdings Limited and Turoa Pure. The risk of this pathway is that neither of these entities have concessions approved to operate at this time, so they may not choose to proceed with the purchases or be unable to operate the skifields. If concession transfers are granted in due course, then we would certainly look forwards to supporting those new operators.
The Ruapehu Skifield Stakeholders Association members and team are acutely aware tonight of the emotions and livelihoods of those that depend on the continued operations on Mt Ruapehu and the uncertainty created as a result of the recent insolvency process and the lack of full and final resolution from the Watershed meeting today.
In conclusion, MBIE made a serious mistake ignoring the PwC Administrators initial plee to delay the watershed meeting to the 30 November 2023 to allow sufficient time for Iwi and hapu to be consulted on the sale process and most importantly the concessions transfer. In our view, rushing Iwi to transfer the concessions without adequate consultation is not only disrespectful to Iwi, it breaches the Treaty of Waitangi and therefore seriously compromises the future of skiing on Mt Ruapehu.
Whatever your view is of the outcome of today’s watershed meeting, remember we are guests on the mountain. Iwi give us the opportunity to ski as their guests, it is not our entitlement, or right to ski on Mt Ruapehu. If we disrespect that, we may loose our future ability to ski.
It didn’t have to be this way. As a country we need to aspire to clean, clear transparent processes that allow stakeholders to come on the journey such that we can all support the outcome. We might not all agree on everything, but given enough time and transparency even a community as diverse as locals, staff, skiers, snowboarders, suppliers and investors could come together and form a shared consensus.
That work starts tomorrow.
The Ruapehu Skifield Stakeholders Association