$2b to repair key transport links

The 7.8 quake has caused massive transport disruption, shutting off road and rail links near Kaikoura. Photo: Reuters
The 7.8 quake has caused massive transport disruption, shutting off road and rail links near Kaikoura. Photo: Reuters
The Government will spend about $2 billion rebuilding road and railway links to the tourist resort of Kaikoura, after the South Island's main transport artery was wiped out in a deadly 7.8 earthquake last month.

Tour operators and hotels in Kaikoura have said they are struggling to survive as blocked roads keep would-be visitors from using the town of 2000 as a base for trips to watch whales, dolphins and seals.

The Government plans to pass rules to speed up road repair, but it will still take 12 months to get limited access along the coastal road, transport minister Simon Bridges said in a statement on Thursday.

Mr Bridges said the Government was committed to getting the region "back on its feet".

Kaikoura is at the forefront of fallout from the November 14 quake, which the Reserve Bank has initially estimated will cost the $250 billion economy up to $8 billion.

Alternative emergency routes have been set up to provide residents access to and from the town.

Local residents Chris and Viv Young look at damage caused on State Highway 1, near Blenheim....
Local residents Chris and Viv Young look at damage caused on State Highway 1, near Blenheim. Photo: Reuters

The Government also said it would provide $5 million to repair Kaikoura's harbour so fishing and whale watching vessels could access the land more easily.

The seabed had risen up to 2 metres during the quake, meaning tourist boats could only reach the shore for two hours a day during high tide and fishing vessels were completely cut off.

The Government has also been forced to slash its 2016/17 budget surplus estimate by more than a third to $473 million due to costs related to the quake.

Add a Comment

 

drivesouth1.png

drivesouth2.png