17 Oct 2011

BOP businesses wonder how long they can manage

10:28 pm on 17 October 2011

Bay of Plenty businesses are assessing how long they can manage without any cashflow following the grounding of a container ship off Tauranga.

The Rena has been wedged on Astrolabe Reef since 5 October and has spilled tonnes of oil and containers into the sea.

Cashflow has been cut off from a range of businesses, including surf schools and cray fishermen, who normally operate in the area now within the exclusion zone around the stricken ship.

The Government is considering providing some sort of recovery package, but has not committed to when this might happen.

The owner of Discovery Surf School in Mount Maunganui says he can't operate at all, but it should not be up to the Government - or effectively taxpayers - to bail businesses out.

Tully Farrell says some businesses are considering taking legal action against the Mediterranean Shipping Company which chartered the Rena or the ship's Greek owners Costamare Shipping Company.

The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce hopes to have a report completed by the end of the week on the immediate and potential downstream effects of the oil spill on local businesses.

Chief executive Max Mason says the findings will be passed on to the Ministry of Social Development for consideration.

It will then be up to the Government to decide on what kind of financial support may be provided.