United front over quake rebuild

Marlborough businesses need to work together to provide seamless delivery of services and materials of the scale required for the Christchurch rebuild.

That was the message to the 25 Marlborough delegates who attended a two-day forum in Christchurch this week, aimed at connecting with key people and groups involved in the rebuild.

Marlborough is believed to be the first region to travel to Christchurch for an update on the rebuild and make inquiries about what assistance is required.

Marlborough Chamber of Commerce manager Brian Dawson said the message of collaboration between businesses and providing innovative solutions was heard clearly by the group.

"If Marlborough can present them with a seamless and united co-ordinated front, we can deliver on the massive scale and efficiencies needed."

"There is going to be plenty of work if the service is as quick and of the quantity required by the market."

Despite being competitors in the Marlborough building materials market, Blenheim Placemakers owner Rodger Cullen and Blenheim and Picton ITM owner Gary Knofflock discussed a joint venture.

Mr Cullen said the pair were addressing issues of capacity and transportation and looking at options around shared transport.

"We need to work together not compete against each other," he said.

"From this distance the absolute worst thing we could do is let a client down, we need to be careful."

Kaituna Sawmill general manager Matt Bond said they would be freighting timber to Christchurch every day, and offered any spare space to the two building companies.

Infrastructure was identified as a potential problem and discussions with transport companies Kiwi Rail and Toll New Zealand need to happen soon, the group decided.

Mayor Alistair Sowman said he would like to adopt some of the innovations and ideas being used in Christchurch.

He thought their approach to building on liquefaction-prone land and the way the polytechs engaged with youth in school could be particularly useful.

Former Christchurch Central MP Brendan Burns suggested the group form a cluster and hold monthly meetings to discuss who was doing what around the rebuild, including roadblocks and opportunities.

Mr Burns was integral in setting up the trip to Christchurch and the forum in Blenheim last year.

Although Marlborough had made some positive connections in Christchurch, the businesses need to continue to be pro-active, he said.

"It's a case of keeping it all going from here, keep it alive and keep it happening," he said.

The Marlborough Express