Crown contribution for communications cable plan

17:00, May 29 2014

Hawaiki Cable's bid to build a US$300 million (NZ$353m) communications cable linking New Zealand, Australia and the United States has received a further credibility boost.

Communications Minister Amy Adams told the parliamentary commerce select committee yesterday that Crown-owned company Reannz was negotiating a contract with Hawaiki that would see it chip in $15m in upfront funding from government coffers.

The money was first set aside by the Government six years ago to encourage the construction of an alternative to the Southern Cross cable. Reannz's total commitment over the life of any contract could be higher.

"We are working with Hawaiki; there is no secrecy about that," Adams said.

Although there had been disappointments before, such as the failure of Pacific Fibre, which had also been a candidate for the Reannz funding, the Government was tracking on the basis that Hawaiki's cable was proceeding, she told Fairfax Media.

"What we are working through at the moment is the negotiation of a potential contract," she said. "We certainly want to make it clear that if they can make it happen, we will be there."

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