Help is promised for Southland after Rio Tinto pulls plug but money more immediately will be pumped into West Coast rail

Latest from the Beehive –

Northland was missing from the regions to benefit from government announcements in the past 24 or so hours.  Southland, on the other hand, is being promised government support for its economy in the aftermath of Rio Tinto’s decision to close its operations at Tiwai Point.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson pledged:

“As we have done in Taranaki, we will support a just transition to more job opportunities. We know the strengths of Southland and we want to build on them in areas such as agriculture, aquaculture and manufacturing. There is also an opportunity to support other energy intensive projects like green hydrogen and data centres.”

But the only figure in the joint press statement with a dollar sign in front related to a sum of money the government expects Rio Tinoto to cough up.

Energy Minister Megan Woods said she wanted to make clear that

“ … the Government expects Rio Tinto to meet their obligations for clean-up of the site (an estimated $256 million) and do the right thing on the dross.” .

Good luck with that.

More definitely, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau announced a $13 million investment from government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast.

The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects and forms part of the $90 million allocated to the West Coast.

This government funding will enable KiwiRail to install drainage and strengthen 2.5 kilometres of the hillside at Omoto where a 100 metre slip in October 2019 closed the rail line and State Highway 7 between Christchurch and Greymouth for more than a month.

There are alternative road routes to the West Coast but the slip stopped the popular TranzAlpine tourist train reaching Greymouth and prevented freight leaving the region by rail.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed government funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke’s Bay DHB.

The Government is investing $10 million towards the total $19.9 million required for this project; the DHB will “self-fund” the rest.

The Government has agreed to provide an extra $4.2 million towards the DHB’s surgical services expansion project to increase capacity and reduce wait times for planned surgeries.

Hipkins was joined by the PM in announcing specialist alcohol and drug addiction services are being strengthened “across New Zealand”.

Actually, the statement focused largely on certain specific localities:

  • New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre
  • A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB
  • A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island
  • Peer support in Rotorua and Taupō before and after residential care
  • Increased capacity specialist services in Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Taranaki DHBs.

Jacinda Ardern mentioned $32 million in new contracts for services over the next four years to help New Zealanders quit drugs and to support them in their continuing recovery.

“DHBs have worked together across regions to determine where the funding would make the biggest difference.

“The new services being funded include additional funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre, managed withdrawal services for Tairāwhiti, Lakes and all five South Island DHBs, and peer support in Rotorua, Taupō and Gisborne.

“This investment means more specialist staff will be available support New Zealanders seeking to break the chains of addiction,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Hipkins also confirmed additional funding for DHBs to strengthen existing alcohol and drug specialist services including residential care providers across the country.

The government is dipping into its coffers for other announcements made in the past day:

  • The government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, (the money will kick-start much needed work to bring drinking, waste and storm water infrastructure up to scratch, the PM said).
  • The government has approved the purchase of a fleet of 43 Australian-designed Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers. Funding of $102.9 million will deliver the vehicles, along with training, a desk top simulator, support equipment and infrastructure upgrades at Linton Camp.
  • A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a reporting and communications system will receive $1.7 million in funding from Predator Free 2050 Limited backed by the Provincial Growth Fund.

 We suppose taxpayers are funding the three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa that were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams. No costs were detailed.

Release 

9 JULY 2020

Government will support the people and economy of Southland

The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium

Hon Grant Robertson Hon Dr Megan Woods 

Energy and Resources

 Finance

  Release

9 JULY 2020

New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort

New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.

Hon Eugenie Sage Fletcher Tabuteau

Conservation

Regional Economic Development

Release

8 JULY 2020

Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast

A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say.

Hon Shane Jones Fletcher Tabuteau

Infrastructure

Regional Economic Development

Release

8 JULY 2020

New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army

The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today.

Hon Ron Mark

Defence

Release

8 JULY 2020

Community-led solutions to prevent family violence

The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.

Hon Poto Williams

Social Development

Release

8 JULY 2020

Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay

The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke’s Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Hon Chris Hipkins

Health

Release

8 JULY 2020

Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand

New Zealanders struggling with alcohol or drugs now have better access to the help they need with the launch of new specialist services and better support for existing programmes.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Hon Chris Hipkins

Prime Minister

Health

Speech

8 JULY 2020

Coastal Shipping Webinar

Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale.

Hon Phil Twyford

Transport

Release

8 JULY 2020

Major investment in safe drinking water

The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Hon Nanaia Mahuta

Prime Minister

Local Government

Release

8 JULY 2020

Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options

Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

Hon Iain Lees-Galloway

Immigration

 

 

One thought on “Help is promised for Southland after Rio Tinto pulls plug but money more immediately will be pumped into West Coast rail

  1. The sooner these incompetent liars and fiscally dyslexic mongs are consigned to tthe gutter (where they belong) the better for all New Zealand (not ayorteearoa).

    Like

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