No stimulus package for West Coast after all

10:16 am on 11 March 2011

Despite promising a stimulus package to the West Coast to help it recover from the Pike River mine disaster, in which 29 men died, the Government has now ruled the idea out.

In December, the then Economic Development Minister, Gerry Brownlee, said he would come back to West Coast leaders with a stimulus package.

Papers obtained under the Official Information Act show, however, that the Government has decided the impact of the November disaster was mainly confined to contracting businesses in the Grey district.

It is now considering funding for employment projects for the contractors, including work on a possible events centre to be built as a memorial to the men who were killed.

A spokesperson for Pike River Coal's 80 contractors and suppliers, Peter Haddock, says he does not think an events centre will help them pay the large bills they face.

The contractors are owed about $7 million and Mr Haddock says they want the Government to help them get it.

Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn says he's still confident the Government will give the West Coast some form of stimulus package, and he'll accept any project that stimulates the area and employs the contractors.

Acting Economic Development Minister David Carter says the list of options has been narrowed down considerably and a final decision will be made shortly.