The company proposing to launch a ferry service between Whanganui and Motueka has failed to woo Whanganui District Council into signing a second Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

Midwest Ferries had wanted to secure official signed support from the council when it met with its chief executive Kym Fell on Wednesday but did not front with the information council needed to do so.

Midwest Ferries launched the ferry proposal in 2017, undertook initial feasibility studies and in May 2018 it signed a six month MoU which stated council supported the company "advancing its business case" but said the proposal needed "further clarification or investigation".

After that MoU lapsed in November, Midwest Ferries director Neville Johnson requested an extension but Fell said it would not be renewed until the company provided a range of supporting information.

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This included "verification of the level of financial resource capable of funding the redevelopment of the Whanganui Port for an inter-island ferry service" and a "compelling business case" including "development costs and significant financial support from investor(s)".

Earlier this month Johnson told the Chronicle he would be bringing new information the Wednesday meeting with the council and "would be surprised" if the MoU was not renewed.

But Fell said Midwest Ferries had not provided the requested information at the meeting and no MoU would be signed at this stage.

"There was no further information that was provided," Fell said. "Certainly my position hasn't changed and I made that clear to Neville."

Fell said he would be happy to meet with Johnson again in April.
"He's got to come up with more information."

Johnson told the Chronicle he found the decision "difficult to accept".

"We've made progress before (without a MoU) so we'll carry on. Nothing has changed with what we are doing."

Midwest Ferries has applied to the Government's Provincial Growth Fund to help fund a business plan.

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