Following a visit to the West Coast late last week Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is backing the West Coast with initial investment in projects that could lift the region’s productivity and potential.
The visit on Friday by Jones also included Rural Communities Minister and West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor and Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau.
The PGF will invest $625,000 in four feasibility studies for proposals that would boost tourism, increase transport resilience and generate employment opportunities.
“The feasibility studies will allow the region to investigate the viability of upgrades to both Westport and Greymouth ports, develop a master plan for Greymouth and help KiwiRail explore options for a scenic rail service between Hokitika and Westport,” Jones said.
Prior to making the visit NZResources reported Jones said he would be talking to civic fathers about support issues for maintaining coal operations, and indicated there were varying views on maintaining coal operations, undoubtedly an indication of the feral opposition to coal mining by the Green Party in the coalition.
No mention was made of the coal scenario in Friday’s announcement.
Damien O’Connor said the PGF was an enormous opportunity for the West Coast.
What the Government plans to fund on the West Coast:
A business case for upgrade and redevelopment of Westport Port and Port of Greymouth ($125,000) to build resilience and provide for increased economic activity.
A feasibility study for a new passenger rail service between Westport and Hokitika that would complement the existing TranzAlpine service and include a new station in Hokitika and carriage maintenance facility in Greymouth ($250,000).
Development of the Greymouth Master Plan that will draw on 12 initiatives identified in the region’s economic development strategy to rejuvenate the township ($125,000).
The PGF is providing a further $30,000 for work on the Punakaiki Master Plan, taking the total government funding to $130,000.
The PGF is a $1 billion per annum investment over three years that aims to enhance New Zealand’s provinces.