Judge tells Thunder Jet it’s all go


A Queenstown jetboat operator resumes commercial trips on Kawarau River tomorrow (Friday) after a lengthy legal battle with a rival.
Kawarau Jet, formerly the sole jetboat operator on the river, lost a legal fight to block newcomer Thunder Jet late last year. 

Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook found in favour of Thunder Jet in a 64-page judgment, which found Kawarau Jet’s opposition was “significantly motivated” by competition. 

Thunder Jet director Duncan Storrier says the judge emailed his company today to say it could commence operating. 

“We’re very happy, no question about it – it’s been a long and tough two and a half years. 

“We’re just rapt to be able to get on now with what we set out to do at the onset, and that’s to take people for a thrillseeking jetboating ride.” 

Storrier says Thunder Jet has two consents – for one boat to run four trips a day, and for three boats to run unlimited trips. 

“We’ll operate just one boat and put additional equipment on as quickly as we practically can, providing the demand is there.” 

Storrier notes the judge “has retained the right for a month to add or fine-tune the conditions”. 

Storrier says the judge also allowed room to add any information from an impending Transport Accident Investigation Commission report into a fatal crash between a private boat and a jetski in January 2009. 

Thunder Jet briefly ran on the Kawarau two summers ago before pulling out once its rival commenced legal proceedings. 

Kawarau Jet, citing safety concerns, objected to Thunder Jet’s original resource consent in 2008.