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Tairawhiti transport solutions require commitment

24 October 2001 Media Release

Tairawhiti transport solutions will require commitment

Over twenty years of neglect will mean that the Tairawhiti region needs significant roading investment in the next ten years, according to a report released today by Jim Anderton, Minister of Industry and Regional Development.

“Roading and other transport networks are needed to harvest the wall of wood and make the most of regional development opportunities,” says Jim Anderton.

Jim Anderton today released the Tairawhiti Integrated Transport Study undertaken by consultants GHD Limited on behalf of the Ministry of Economic Development in association with Transit New Zealand and the Gisborne and Wairoa District Councils.

“It is clear that making the most of our forest harvest, and creating wood processing jobs will require a significant investment in the region’s roads. It could be as high as $120 million over a 20 year period, most of which needs to be invested in the next 10 years.

“Of this around $30 million is likely to be eligible for financial support through Transfund and local government. Further work is being done to refine the requirements for roading improvement and to identify potential sources of funds.

“This report provides a good foundation for making decisions on the region’s infrastructure. But it also points to the need for some serious commitments – from central and local government and the industry, particularly in relation to wood processing,” said Jim Anderton.

Jim Anderton said that over the next few weeks Ministry of Economic Development officials would be setting up discussions with the region’s key transport stakeholders. Those discussions would include reaching final agreement on the likely cost of the necessary trasnport improvements, financing and funding options available and the institutional arrangements for the significant maintenance and upgrading likely to be required over the next 20 years.


Key points from the study were:

- Port Gisborne is the preferred export port for forestry produce but is also the major constraint to accommodating increasing woodflows. Significant expansion of log handling facilities and log storage areas will be necessary to accommodate increased volumes.

- State Highway 35 north of Gisborne (the Coastal Route) is the more cost-efficient log haulage route for forests located north of Gisborne, compared with the development of a dedicated Inland Route.

- Gisborne City is the preferred centre for investment in wood processing in the region.

- It will be necessary to upgrade key local roads in order to expedite log transport within the region, including roads providing access to Port Gisborne within Gisborne City.

- Rail is not currently a preferred transport option amongst forestry companies, but Tranz Rail should be encouraged to retain the existing rail infrastructure and operations, to increase its customer base and to undertake ‘other steps necessary to provide an economical service to the Region’.


ENDS

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