ThunderJets are go Maritime


Two victories against one rival – and a counter-punch from another.

That’s the week that was for junior jetboat hopeful ThunderJet in the Battle of the Kawarau River.

Queenstown Water Taxis – trading as ThunderJet – broke out the champagne last Thursday when Maritime New Zealand unfroze its operating consent after a month-long investigation. MNZ dismissed claims by giant Kawarau Jet that two operators on the same stretch of water would be deadly dangerous.

ThunderJet, you’re cleared to go, said MNZ.

Not so fast, said Kawarau Jet on Tuesday by going to Invercargill’s High Court for a stop order, claiming ThunderJet hadn’t presented them with a proper radio protocol. But Justice Christine French threw out the bid on Wednesday and ThunderJet are all go again.

Except not in their red-coloured craft because Big Red – Queenstown’s famous Shotover Jet – has, er, seen red over the colour clash.

David Kennedy, regional boss of Shotover owner Ngai Tahu Tourism, plays it down.

“We’re just confirming our rights [over] the colour of our trademark and our boats,” Kennedy says.

“It’s about to be resolved.”

Who won? “It won’t be us who’s repainting boats, put it that way.”

ThunderJet’s next threat comes on January 19, when Kawarau Jet asks the High Court for a judicial review of its new rival’s operating consent.