National | Ruapehu

Ruapehu in liquidation as rescue plan fails

The not-for-profit which runs Ruapehu is in $81.6 million of debt. Photo / Stuart Munro / NZME / FILE

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts has entered liquidation after a proposal to salvage the business operations of Whakapapa and Tūroa, the North Island's primary skifields was rejected by creditors.

The Auckland High Court, presided over by Justice Christine Grice, oversaw proceedings Wednesday morning.

PWC's John Fisk and Richard Nacey have been appointed liquidators for the not-for-profit organisation, which carries a substantial debt burden of $81.6 million.

Despite the setback, Fisk expressed optimism over the company's potential sale.

The plan involves dividing the assets into two separate entities, one for each skifield, Whakapapa and Tūroa. The government would acquire a 25% stake in both businesses.

Patutokotoko, a collective representing Ruapehu/Whanganui hapū, has sent a letter to Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, urging authorities to consult with iwi before finalising any commercial agreements to do with the acquisition of the skifields.

Worst outcome - closure

Fisk emphasised the importance of securing Department of Conservation (DoC) concessions and ensuring interested buyers remained committed to the purchase.

Failure to achieve these objectives would result in the "closure of the mountain" and the subsequent sale of assets — an outcome Fisk deemed as the "worst possible" scenario.

The liquidation follows a Tuesday night vote where creditors, including life pass holders, bondholders, staff, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and ANZ bank refused to agree a way to save the business.

Debt write-offs and reorganisation were among ideas being tabled.

The mayor of Ruapehu District indicated then that the chances of skiing on the mountain this winter were about 50/50.


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