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Children walking through the trees in the Milford Sound
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Forests around the Milford Sound. Credit - Luc Hoogenstein


Privatisation within national parks

Conservation area:

When commercial interests threaten to privatise sections of our national parks, it’s important that we stand up to be heard.

Why it matters

New Zealand has a long history of keeping our most spectacular landscapes open for all to enjoy – right from the creation of Tongariro National Park, the first national park in the world gifted by indigenous people. 

But a string of applications, from inappropriate helicopter landings to hydro schemes, have tried to erode that basic tenet – that national parks are natural places where the public has the right of entry. The latest of these is an application to the Department of Conservation to build a commercial lodge within Fiordland National Park. This is for the exclusive use of up to 40 guests, near the road to Milford Sound in the Eglinton Valley.

Such exclusive use is not consistent with our National Parks Act; it appropriates public resources for private benefit. There is also no need, which the Fiordland National Park Management Plan recognises by preferring new visitor facilities to be established at existing modified sites. 

The proposed lodge, carpark and access track are in an area with few human structures. They would impinge on the Eglinton Valley’s overall sense of naturalness and create a new built area deeper in the Park, beyond the last settlement at Knobs Flat.

Google maps view of the proposed lodge

We urged people to submit against the proposal and defend our national parks, because we believe the proposal:

  • conflicts with the purpose of maintaining national parks in their natural state and being places where the public have the right of entry
  • directly contradicts policies for accommodation in section 9 of the General Policy for National Parks, (GPNP)  especially 9(d) which states that applicants should place accommodation outside of the park, or share existing facilities; but including policy 9(e) which provides  that any new facilities are not for exclusive use and provide for public use is contrary to the Fiordland National Park Management Plan; specifically the objectives for Milford Road, (section – 13 page 176) 


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