HomeNewsHanding the skifields back to directors would be a “worst-case scenario”

Handing the skifields back to directors would be a “worst-case scenario”


This article was first published here and republished courtesy of NewsHub.co.nz

Photo by Jason Gardner on Unsplash

The secret plans of two groups tipped to take over Mount Ruapehu’s financially troubled ski fields can finally be unveiled.

The voluntary administrators’ report released on Tuesday night finally sheds light on the mountain’s future for the thousands who rely on it for jobs, tourism, and skiing.

Eight months after Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) went into voluntary administration owing $45 million, throwing the region into disarray, finally there’s been some clarity over the future.

On Monday Cabinet agreed to support bids from Whakapapa Holdings Limited (WHL) and Pure Tūroa Limited (PTL) to take over RAL’s operations.

In a new report on Tuesday, the PWC administrator revealed how the deal will work.

The report says that those two preferred bidders will buy a side of the mountain each for $1. The Crown will take a 25 percent shareholding in both entities and will loan both entities money. Both WHL and PTL will assume significant obligations of RAL, and will offer staff new contracts.

There are 14,000 lifepass holders and the report reveals what’s in it for them.

PTL will offer lifepass holders the opportunity to:

  • Purchase multi-year season passes for Tūroa, for up to five years with a 60 percent discount off the full price
  • Those lifepass holders who purchased their pass in 2018 or 2019 will receive one additional season free of charge with any full season pass purchase

WHL will offer life pass holders the opportunity to:

  • Renew their life pass for $1850 for the Whakapapa ski field for those passes originally purchased prior to 2018 (paid in two instalments of $599 before winter 2023 and the balance in April 2024); or
  • $599 for those passes originally purchased in 2019, paid before winter 2023

At next Tuesday’s watershed creditors meetings around the country, the voluntary administrator is urging all creditors to vote for liquidation and the sale of both the Whakapapa and Tūroa operations to these new entities to allow a seamless transition.

The report considers an alternative proposal by the Ruapehu Skifields Stakeholders Association (RSSA) to retain the business and assets of RAL in the current company structure while creditors either write off some of their debt or extend payment terms. The administrators’ report says there are a number of risks with this, including not all the creditors have agreed to forgive their debt.

Meanwhile the option of returning the company to its directors is a “worst-case scenario” because the company is “hopelessly insolvent”.

But after Newshub spoke to iwi and hapu on Tuesday, it seems there will be some opposition. They still feel there’s been a lack of consultation, it’s them that have to grant the licences to these new companies and they’re still talking about seeking a high court injunction.