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A grant of up to $5 million to help with the post-earthquake restoration of Kaikoura Harbour was announced today by Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

“This grant will ensure work can begin as soon as possible to dredge the harbour, which is a pivotal lifeline to the Kaikoura region,” Mr Brownlee says.

“The magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 resulted in the seabed rising between one and two metres in some areas, which has severely restricted access to the region by sea.

“We want to help Kaikoura get back on its feet as quickly as possible, so this grant is another part of the support being provided by the Government towards this goal.”

Mr Joyce says a functioning reliable Kaikoura harbour is crucial to the economic wellbeing of the wider Kaikoura district.

“Tourism operators currently only have a two-hour window at high tide when they can use the harbour, while fisheries who rely on trailer-launched vessels are unable to operate at all,” Mr Joyce says.

“We need to get the harbour restored as soon as possible, to get the blood pumping again in the local economy.

“Kaikoura is a vibrant South Island community, and this grant will help ensure this continues to be the case despite the setback delivered by the recent earthquake.”

Both Ministers say the restoration work planned will incorporate safeguards to ensure any impact on the marine environment is avoided, remedied or mitigated.

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