Brothers may battle on

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The bitter battle between two Queenstown jetboat brothers may rumble on.

KJet owner Shaun Kelly says he may appeal last week’s Environment Court decision favouring his brother Neville’s Thunder Jet business.

“We’re disappointed but we’re looking at our options,” the KJet Kelly tells Mountain Scene this morning.

Shaun Kelly won’t rule out an appeal: “No, no – we have to look at the judge’s decision and just go from there.

“There’s a lot of information to consider and it boils down really to the safety on the river – which is our main concern.”

If it stands, last week’s verdict will break KJet’s monopoly on the lower stretch of the Shotover River – Thunder Jet is now permitted to operate four boats alongside KJet’s eight craft.

In his decision, judge Laurie Newhook agreed operational safety was the main issue in the case but concluded “any safety effects from [Thunder Jet’s] proposal will be no more than minor”.

Earlier this morning, before his brother Shaun’s announcement of a possible appeal, Thunder Jet’s Neville Kelly issued a statement saying how “thrilled” he was at last Thursday’s judgment.

“It’s been a long two-year process to get to this point,” the Thunder Jet Kelly says.

“We’ve proved to the court we can safely operate in this area and are delighted we can now offer the Lower Shotover [river] as an option.”

The Kelly brothers jointly co-owned KJet predecessor Kawarau Jet between 1987 and 1999.

Neville Kelly set up Thunder Jet five years ago.

frank@scene.co.nz