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Southerner deal finalised

9 October 2001 Media Statement

Southerner deal finalised


Partnership between central and local government and Tranz Rail has kept the Southerner passenger rail service running until at least February.

The Government and local authorities will make a contribution of $240,000 towards the running costs of the service until 10 February next year.

Jim Anderton said the deal would almost certainly not have been possible if the Coalition Government had not created the Ministry of Economic Development.

“It has worked closely with local authorities and contributed funds because of the regional development and tourism potential of the service.”

Jim Anderton acknowledged the co-operation of Tranz Rail in keeping the service open while a deal was arranged, and in agreeing to meet any further shortfall from continuing until February.

An investigation into the long-term viability of the service is also being funded. It will look at the impact on regions if the passenger service closes, the market for passenger transport on the route, a market assessment of options for addressing passenger demand, and the wider benefits from passenger transport options.

Dunedin South MP David Benson-Pope said the key now is for local communities to discuss what level of initiatives they will support and what level of funding they would contribute in the medium term.

“It’s up to the communities serviced by the Southerner to contribute their ideas of what may be possible to maximise the development and tourism potential for the region.”

Under the deal, the Government will contribute$140,000 towards the Southerner’s operating costs, Dunedin and Invercargill City Councils $35,000 each, Christchurch City Council $25,000, Waitaki and Southland District Councils $2000 each and Timaru District Council $1000.

The Government will pay up to $30,000 for the viability study, Timaru District Council will provide $5000, while the Otago Regional Council, Environment Southland And Environment Canterbury will contribute $10,000 each.

ENDS

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