Photo / Mt Ruapehu – This article is republished courtesy of our media partners NZME
The embattled company behind operations at Mt Ruapehu ski fields has gone into liquidation, leaving the community uncertain ahead of the ski season.
Creditors of Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL), which went into voluntary administration last year owing $45 million, failed to reach an agreement today.
RAL operates the Tūroa and Whakapapa fields.
Earlier, it was estimated at least 196 people would lose their jobs if the ski fields went under for good, not taking into account the businesses that rely on visitors to the surrounding towns.
The Government had supported two companies to take over RAL’s assets and business.
Since last year, the Government has invested $8 million in bridging money for RAL.
Ruapehu District Mayor Weston Kirton said it was a disappointment “all around”.
Kirton said it created a lot of uncertainty for the community, which expected the ski season to be running in due course.
A liquidation hearing was expected at the Auckland High Court tomorrow.
Rain in last year’s wet winter repeatedly washed away the snow and the ski area’s 50 snowmaking machines proved no match against balmy temperatures.
Climate change appears to be a significant factor after New Zealand experienced its warmest winter on record — for the third year in a row.
The disastrous 2022 snow season came after the previous two seasons were severely disrupted by Covid-19, leaving Tūroa and Whakapapa on the brink of bankruptcy.
MBIE provided additional funding to PwC to allow RAL to continue to trade until the start of this year’s season and to give time for a long-term plan to be formulated.