West Coast: kickstart for ports, rail, town

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is backing the West Coast with initial investment in projects that could lift the region’s productivity potential and future-proof its economy.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, Rural Communities Minister and West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor and Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau visited the West Coast today to announce further Government support for the region.

The PGF government 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,” Shane Jones said.

“These initiatives are just the start and we will continue to work closely with the West Coast to support the development of proposals that lift the overall productivity potential of the West Coast. I look forward to making more announcements in the future.”

Damien O’Connor said the West Coast had numerous investment opportunities in the pipeline and he was glad to see the region working together to access PGF support.

“The Provincial Growth Fund is an enormous opportunity for the West Coast and I look forward to continuing to advocate for investment in our wonderful region that will help diversify our economy and create new opportunity,” Damien O’Connor said.

What we’re funding:

  • The business case for the 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 the 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.

“I’m pleased to see how these investments complement each other to support the vision of revitalisation that the West Coast has,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

“If deemed feasible, a new passenger rail service has huge potential for the region and would undoubtedly support West Coast Tourism to reach its goal of 1.1 million visitors by 2021.

“I look forward to coming back to the West Coast with my senior colleagues to deliver further support for this region,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

Today’s announcements are in addition to the $1.1 million announced in February this year.

Notes to editors:

The Provincial Growth Fund is a $1 billion per annum investment over three years that aims to ensure New Zealand’s provinces can thrive through productive, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Click here for more information about the PGF.