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Marlborough forms links for rebuild

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 16:00 21/01/2013

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Marlborough has been quick to create opportunities to enable businesses to take part in the Christchurch rebuild, the man working to link the two areas says.

Brendon Burns, a former Christchurch Central MP and former editor of the Marlborough Express now living in Blenheim, is working with the Marlborough District Council and Marlborough Chamber of Commerce to get Marlborough involved with the rebuild of Christchurch after the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

He was instrumental in organising a forum held in Blenheim last year, which was aimed at connecting Marlborough businesses with key developers and construction companies which were involved in the rebuild.

Next week's trip to Christchurch, dubbed the "council-Marlborough business initiative" or Combi, was phase two of firming up some of those relationships and securing a solid foothold on the rebuild, he said.

However, other regions are also looking at being involved in the $30 billion rebuild.

"I think we are one of the first regions off the block due to the efforts of council and chamber, but the whole of New Zealand will be looking at the opportunities in Christchurch."

Timaru, Invercargill and Nelson had all held forums similar to Marlborough, he said.

Chamber manager Brian Dawson said about 15 businesses had signed up so far, mostly from the construction industry, including joinery, engineering, timber and building suppliers and design.

It was pleasing to see a wide cross-section of businesses able to directly contribute, including business support services.

"You only need to look at the work that has come out of last year's forum for Cuddon and other businesses to see there is a real opportunity in Christchurch," he said.

"But we need to be pro-active and continue to improve our connections on a civil and a business level or we'll fall behind."

The Combi programme is being held on Monday and Tuesday next week, based in the Westpac Business Hub at the Addington Showgrounds in Christchurch.

It includes a briefing on the big picture issues from the Christchurch City Council and Fletchers, and presentations from the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority and Christchurch Central Development Unit.

The Stronger Christchurch Rebuild Infrastructure Team is lined up to speak about building and infrastructure requirements.

Trips to the University of Canterbury and Canterbury Polytechnic Institute of Technology are also planned.

Marlborough delegates will also be visiting the red zone and the Prestons Rd development, where 2500 new houses are to be built.

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They will also have the opportunity to visit the Pacific Tower building, where Cuddon Engineering has been managing the replacement of new equipment manufactured in its Blenheim workshop. The delegates have also organised a function for 150 influential Christchurch people to be held on Monday night.

Mr Burns said the function would showcase the very best of Marlborough produce.

This would include salmon, mussels, cheese, garlic, beer and Marlborough wines.

"It's an opportunity for Marlborough to remind Cantabrians they should remember there's a marvellous place only three-and-a-half hours up the road to get away and have a break."

- The Marlborough Express

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