Fee for Southland firms joining Chch rebuild

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 07:51 11/10/2012

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Southland businesses signing up to help with the Christchurch rebuild will be asked to pay membership fees to partially fund the project.

The Southland Supply Initiative - a proposal through which labour and services from Southland can be directed to the rebuild but at the same time remain based in Southland - will cost $93,000 for its first year, Venture Southland says.

The Venture Southland Joint Committee has approved up to $66,000 in funding with membership fees expected to help top up the shortfall.

Venture Southland group manager enterprise and strategic projects Steve Canny said 48 Southland companies had registered for the initiative and Venture Southland had identified 317 other businesses that had the capability of providing services to the Canterbury rebuild.

However, there was a need for a "buy-in" from those businesses to contribute and help drive the initiative, he said.

There was a lot of effort being put in to ensure businesses had an opportunity around the Christchurch rebuild and a modest contribution to the project would be in the interests of participating businesses, he said.

"Those that are prepared to put in the effort and are prepared to commit to the opportunities will have a stake in the outcomes and be core partners in the initiative."

Canny said there would be a co-ordinated effort to work with Southland businesses and liaise with Christchurch and other regionally based project managers and procurement agencies.

Southland businesses should be providing products and services to the Christchurch rebuild within 12 months, he said.

The establishment of a governance board and a sustainable funding model for future years would be investigated, Canny said.

Venture Southland chief executive Paul Casson said the Southland Supply Initiative was a long-term project with the potential to help the Southland economy but the project could be subject to delays.

Every time there was an earthquake greater than magnitude 5.0 in Christchurch it would set the initiative back six months, he said.

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt said the project would benefit Southland but it could not afford to lose momentum with fears insurance firms were not paying up and allowing those affected by the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes to get on with the rebuild.

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- The Southland Times

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