The Department of Conservation’s incompetence and bullying tactics over access to popular Hawke’s Bay tourist destination Cape Kidnappers is ruining businesses and lives, MP for Tukituki Lawrence Yule says.
“A track at Cape Kidnappers was closed last year after slip. The slip affects the walking track which has been closed – but DOC also cutting access to areas where there isn’t any danger.
“As well as unnecessarily closing some areas, DOC has also posted public notices implying some areas which are operational are also shut down, meaning the tourist operators who were operating in safe areas were missing out on business. Some have reported bookings down as much as 80 per cent.
“Late last night DOC sent a notice to Gannet Beach Adventures saying they have to stop operating, despite being given the green light to start tours up again three weeks ago. This tour is not part of the walking track where the slip took place and there is no risk to their operation.
“This is despite an initial report competed by the Hastings District and DOC concluding the risk of using the beach access is no greater than playing golf or white water rafting. DOC is now conducting a peer review which was meant to be completed in October. Hastings District Council own the beach access and is formally allowing people to use it.
“Gannet Beach Adventures are now considering closing their 68-year-old business as they have no access to the gannets and are struggling financially and emotionally. Many other business are also struggling.
“This land was gifted to the Crown by a local family who wanted locals and tourists to enjoy the area. It is one of Hawke’s Bay’s biggest and most important tourist attractions.
“I will now work with local businesses on the next steps get access back to Cape Kidnappers, which has been taken without any justifiable reason.”