A $1 million donation to help with recovery costs from the Rena grounding will go some way to ease the toll borne by businesses and organisations in the Western Bay that bore the brunt of the disaster, says Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson.
The Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A (MSC) yesterday announced the establishment of the Recovery Fund which is a donation by the Company to the people of the Bay of Plenty to help cover costs of the Rena disaster.
The $1 million, to be shared equally between Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Tauranga City Council, will help repay some of the clean-up and recovery costs of the Rena grounding.
The funds will go toward the people and communities of the Bay of Plenty including local organisations, local iwi, wildlife care and tourism-related businesses that suffered proven losses directly as a result of the grounding.
In the Western Bay, Matakana Island, Maketu and Waihi Beach communities were particularly affected by the pollution and debris washed up from the wrecked Rena.
"I hope this donation will in some way repay the enormous emotional, physical and financial toll that these local communities suffered from this disaster,'' says Mayor Paterson.
"At the time there was no hesitation from hundreds of our local residents to get out on the beaches and clean up oil, debris and to help stricken wildlife - it was a dreadful time that I hope this region will never again have to experience.
"As the MSC shipping company are not the owners and were not responsible for the operation of the Rena or the damage caused by the grounding I give it full credit for coming to the party in this way and acknowledging the impacts of the grounding on our foreshore, coastal waters, wildlife and communities.''
The Managing Director of the Australasian Subsidiary MSC, Kevin Clarke, said that with the financial resolution reached earlier this week between the owners of the Rena and the New Zealand Government, MSC felt it was appropriate to go ahead with its earlier pledge of the $1 million donation.
"We have a longstanding and positive partnership with the Port of Tauranga. With 250 port calls per year the Port is important to our business. Following the grounding of the Rena we wanted to support the wider communities of the Bay of Plenty with this goodwill gesture", said Mr Clarke.
MSC has been in discussion with local representatives from the Bay of Plenty and an agreement has been reached between MSC, the Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the Tauranga City Council as to the distribution of the recovery fund. The money will be held in special reserve account and will be managed by an appointed distribution committee.