Government officials and local authorities in Hawke's Bay have announced they will join forces to deliver a broad and deep study of the region's economic potential over the next 30 years and appropriate transport infrastructure to service it.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced this afternoon that the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) will join forces with the local authorities of the Tairawhiti Region - Gisborne, Wairoa and Napier and Hastings - to deliver the study.
Mr Brownlee has today hosted the local authority leaders from the Gisborne and Hawkes Bay regions, who remain concerned about the impact of the closure of the Napier-Gisborne rail line.
"Our discussions very quickly went beyond the region's present transport network and there was collective agreement that the greatest benefit for everyone lay in better understanding the potential for long term economic growth and the requisite infrastructure across all transport modes to support that.
"This is about planning for the decades ahead rather than confronting issues on an ad hoc basis as they arrive in a region everyone agrees has great economic potential," Mr Brownlee said.
Work will begin at a local level and with Ministry officials immediately to draw up terms of reference for the study.
Mr Joyce said MBIE welcomes the opportunity to support the region through a better understanding of how to unlock its potential.
"We are looking at a piece of work that can support the regions' economic development over a 30 year timeframe; ensuring strategic decisions are made on sound economic information by all stakeholders."
Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon said he was confident today's discussion would result in positive long term outcomes for his region.
"I'm happy with the outcome of today's meeting and I look forward to the broader economic study of our district's potential and how future transport modes might support that."