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Council to consult on options to secure Port’s future

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has voted unanimously to consult with the Hawke’s Bay community later this year on options to fund the development of Napier Port.

Council Chair Rex Graham says the options seek to secure funding required for the Port’s growth to support the region’s thriving economy, while reducing commercial risk and protecting overall community ownership of the port.

Earlier this year, Council released a Capital Structure Review Panel (CSRP) report  outlining a number of options on how best to secure the region’s economic and environmental future.

“Hawke’s Bay’s economy is growing and Napier Port needs to grow to support that. At the same time, we need to spread Council’s investments and make them work hard to support Council’s critical work for our region’s future. This is a significant decision for the community and Council is united that doing nothing is no longer an option,” says Mr Graham.

“Napier Port is associated with 27,000 full and part-time jobs across the region and underpins our export-driven economy. Council is united that the community retains overall ownership of the port.”

Exports through Napier Port will increase by approximately 50 per cent over the coming decade as the Hawke’s Bay economy continues to grow. The Port is currently refining its capital requirements so it can continue to connect the region’s cargo owners to global markets, accommodate larger vessels and manage increasing Port congestion.

The Port currently makes up 77 per cent of Council’s income-generating investments, which is something the community needs to think about. This is important as the Council also relies on the income the port generates through its dividend.

“Council needs to find a way to fund the Port’s capital requirements and we want your views on the options which will be up for consultation.”

Rex Graham says the Capital Structure Review Panel was also clear that the Port borrowing to fund all of its growth would lead to unacceptably high debt levels and was not being considered as a result.
He says Council and the Hawke’s Bay region was in a privileged position to be considering these options.

“We wouldn’t be in the position of considering how best to fund the Port’s growth if Hawke’s Bay wasn’t growing and thriving. The decision on how to fund the growth of our port is a hugely important strategic decision for Hawke’s Bay and we want everyone from the region to engage in the process and share their views with us.”

31 July 2018

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