Jetboat row could rumble on

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Kawarau Jet isn’t ruling out a civil case against Queenstown Lakes District Council in light of a High Court judgment released this week.

Judge Christine French quashed a QLDC resource consent allowing Frontier Adventure Tours, trading as Thunder Jet, to operate four trips each day on the Kawarau River.

Kawarau Jet last October asked the court to overturn the consent on the grounds QLDC hadn’t sought its approval as an affected party – an omission Judge French calls “unlawful” and “flawed”.

Kawarau Jet co-owner Andy Brinsley says the issue has inconvenienced his company for five months and cost it more than $200,000 in legal fees and other expenses.

He admits the firm may take out a civil case against QLDC.

Brinsley says the court decision vindicates his company’s safety concerns and pulls management of local waterways back into QLDC’s hands.

Frontier had relied on a nod from Maritime New Zealand, but Judge French states: “Maritime NZ is not the consent authority and does not operate under the Resource Management Act.”

Thunder Jet this week ceased operating.