Firm behind rejected Milford tunnel won’t appeal

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The company behind a rejected plan to put a commercial bus tunnel through national parks to Milford Sound won’t be appealing the decision.
 
Milford Dart Ltd’s managing director Tom Elworthy has confirmed to Radio New Zealand the company will not be seeking a judicial review of the rejection. 

Elworthy told Radio NZ his company had given it its best shot but after eight years attempting to get the green light for the $180 million tunnel, there was no point taking the proposal further. 

On Wednesday, Conservation Minister Nick Smith declined a concession for the 11.3km tunnel which would have cut through Fiordland and Mt Aspiring national parks, shortening the travel time to tourist magnet Milford Sound from Queenstown and Glenorchy. 

A second plan to develop a similar tunnel, about 2km longer, which would have relocated the eastern portal, was discussed with Dr Smith last week. 

Given that proposal was ”significantly different” and the public and the hearings commissioner had not had the opportunity to consider it, Dr Smith said he had insufficient information to make a decision on that. 

Elworthy told Radio NZ plans for the alternative tunnel would also be shelved.