2 Jun 2015

Govt funds new wharf for Chathams

7:01 am on 2 June 2015

A Moriori leader from the Chatham Islands is grateful the Government is providing millions of dollars in this year's budget to replace the island's dilapidated wharf.

Chatham islands

Photo: Marlon Thomas

The Waitangi Wharf on Rēkohu/Wharekauri will be replaced in a three-year construction project costing up to $52 million in capital funding.

Hokotehi Moriori Trust general manager Maui Solomon said the new wharf was badly needed for the island's lucrative fishing industry.

"Often our ships that visit the island have to weigh anchor in the bay for days on end, before they can come alongside the wharf," Mr Solomon said.

"The island actually does provide significant revenue to the New Zealand economy, particularly the revenue generated from its fisheries which would be in the hundreds of millions [of dollars] every year.

"So it's nice to see some recognition from the Government in funding significant projects like the wharf development."

Mr Solomon said it has been something the local council on the island has been talking with the Government about for more than five years.

Minister of Internal Affairs Peter Dunne said the investment would enhance economic development opportunities for the Chatham Islands and strengthen community resilience in the face of tough economic times.

He said the cash injection would enable more efficient port operations, encourage future economic growth and sustain a lifeline for the community.

Mr Dunne acknowledged that the current state of the wharf was a structural risk and that it needed to be replaced within five years.