Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Toll Holdings bullies with Big Fat Ferry

Just uploaded my latest published piece 'Arrogant Toll Bullies Small District Council with Big Fat Ferry' to the articles section of the site. It appeared in the December edition of the CAFCA magazine Foreign Control Watchdog.

In August, Toll Holdings introduced a new ferry to the Cook Straight run, the Kaitaki, and immediately began sailing at 20 knots through Marlborough Sounds. Toll refuses to follow the rules set by the local Marlborough District Council that require the ferry operator to gain a resource consent in order to travel more than 15 knots in the Sounds.

These rules, known as 'Variation Three', are designed to protect people and the environment from the negative impact of large ferry-created waves. While Toll is appealing the decision of the Council through the Environment Court, the Australian owned corporate refuses to abide by the rules as they stand.

Toll claims the 15 knot speed restriction has no scientific validity and that the Council has failed to show adverse effects arising from a 20 knot speed. Yet as the Press says in its editorial of September 27 2004, in reference to the effect of the wake on the foreshore, "it is hard to believe that this could be environmentally benign. There are also concerns of property damage and potential risk to human life". Ferry wake can also contribute to erosion and land sliding.

Toll's actions have been widely condemned by the local community and the mainstream media, with the company regularly accused of 'arrogance' and acting as a 'bully'. Both the Marlborough Express and the Christchurch Press have called on Toll to slow down the Kaitaki, and expressed the hope the District Council is successful in winning its case in the Environment Court. The court battle resumes on the 30th of January.

Go, Go, and good speed Marlborough District Council! :)

PS: I nicknamed the Kaitaki the 'big fat ferry' on account of the new boat being 30 metres longer and 3 metres wider than the Arahura and Aratere ferries.

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