The financially troubled Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) is to get its fourth cash injection from the Crown in a year, with a $7 million announcement to keep it running for another five months.
RAL went into voluntary administration last year, owing about $45m, after being impacted by poor seasonal conditions and pandemic closures over the past few years.
A report in June revealed the debt had ballooned to $81.6m, including $44m owed to about 15,000 people who held ski passes.
The Cabinet decided on the extra funding today.
A spokeswoman for Minister of Local Government, Kieran McAnulty, said the funding would help cover critical maintenance done during summer.
She said it would also “provide additional certainty for the community”.
“There is a need to allow time for further dialogue with stakeholders, iwi and hapū to understand their aspirations for the skifield,” the minister’s spokeswoman said.
“This was the appropriate decision made considering we have an election in less than two weeks.”
One of RAL’s administrators, John Fisk of PwC, told Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis Allan the extra funding “will hopefully give us time … to have further discussions about getting through to the start of the 2024 season and hopefully finding a more permanent solution than us sitting in the driving seat”.
Fisk said, “Of the $7m, $4.3m is being provided to us as the liquidators of RAL to get us through to March 2024.
“The whole purpose of what we’re [the administrators] trying to do is to get an orderly sale of the assets so that skiing can continue on the mountain – that’s always been our objective.
“There is secured debt in there. It’s complicated because there’s a bank involved, there’s a group of trusts that have loaned money and there’s Government funds involved too – a real mix of security,” he said.
PwC partner John Fisk.
The Government gave RAL $2m in November 2022, and ANZ pitched in to provide another $2m. The Government gave RAL another $6m in December 2022. The Government then loaned RAL $5m in June this year.
In total, RAL has received $20m from the Government since November last year.
This article republished courtesy of NZME