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Help's on its way: NZSki's worked with local MP Hamish Walker to get an exemption for a rope splicer to fly in from Switzerland

By Hugh Collins

NZSki’s hopes of opening a new chairlift in time for the 2020 Queenstown ski season are looking more positive than ever.

The company’s worked with Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker on a government exemption to allow a specialist rope splicer to enter New Zealand from Switzerland, to complete the $17 million installation at The Remarkables.

NZSki boss Paul Anderson says the exemption was the company’s biggest risk in getting the lift finished in time.

“We are very optimistic now we will get the job done.”

The splicer’s got to go into quarantine for a fortnight before he can start work on the hill – Anderson says they’re waiting for written confirmation from the government before travel arrangements will be made.

“I’m hoping that will be about three weeks in all by the time we get him flown out here, get him in quarantine and then up the mountain.”

Walker says he’s been pushing the immigration ministry and the Minister for Economic Development for the exemption.

“So I’m glad and thankful the government listened and has given this guy an exemption.

“It means a lot for our region in terms of the visitor experience up The Remarkables that we are all looking forward to.”

hugh.collins@scene.co.nz