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1000 Cantabrians Offered A West Coast 'break From The Quake'

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
1000 Cantabrians Offered A West Coast 'break From The Quake'

The partners in the West Coast coal route - Solid Energy, KiwiRail and Lyttelton Port of Christchurch - have joined with the hospitality industry in Greymouth and Hokitika, through Tourism West Coast, to offer a free 'break from the quake' package to 1000 Canterbury residents affected by the earthquake.

The organisations have put together a package which includes a return trip by the TranzAlpine to Greymouth for up to two nights staying in motel or hotel accommodation in Greymouth or Hokitika, together with local transport, meals and discounted vouchers for local activities. The offer is targeted at families who have suffered a genuine hardship or loss - damage to their home, business or their health - who could do with a break.

Solid Energy Chief Executive Officer, Dr Don Elder, says: "We recognise that thousands of jobs in Canterbury and the West Coast depend on Solid Energy's export business so after some very hard initial work by our people and business partners we are pleased to say we are back to near 'operations as usual'. However we know this is not the case for many of our friends and neighbours. This package is something immediate that we've been able to do for Cantabrians worst affected by the quake and we're thrilled that our partners in the West Coast coal route and West Coasters have thrown in their support to make this happen.

Kiwi Rail Chief Executive, Jim Quinn, says: "We know what an impact the quake and the aftershocks are having on our staff, on our business and on the people in the Christchurch area. We hope that by making tickets on the TranzAlpine available as part of the package, we can provide some relief and brighten someone's week."

Lyttelton Port of Christchurch Chief Executive, Peter Davie, says: "Our infrastructure and facilities sustained significant damage but we were able to resume core services a few hours after the earthquake. This was thanks to the hard work of our team, many of whom were working under stress. Many Canterbury businesses and families have also been working under extreme pressure as they begin to rebuild their lives so we are pleased to be able to help do something for those who have been badly affected by the earthquake."

Allen Hurley, Chair of Enterprise Hokitika says that a number of people on the Coast had been thinking about what they could do for their neighbours "over the hill" and he's been overwhelmed by the response he's had to date from hoteliers, moteliers and local businesses who are keen to help out.

Westland District and Grey District Mayors, Maureen Pugh and Tony Kokshoorn, have pledged to be part of a team who will welcome, at the Greymouth Railway Station, every visitor from Canterbury that takes up the offer.

Westland District Mayor, Maureen Pugh, says: "There are times when the true meaning of being a West Coaster becomes apparent. It's all about our friendly open nature with an automatic willingness to help those in trouble. The response from accommodation providers in Westland has been outstanding. I anticipate an enthusiastic response from our Canterbury neighbours and look forward to providing them with some much needed relief in this time of unprecedented destruction We are able to offer a range of activities and typical West Coast hospitality, maybe even a day at the river with a whitebait net."

Grey District Mayor, Tony Kokshoorn, says ""Many times in the past, the people from Canterbury have come to the aid of West Coasters when needed. In your hour of need, Coasters will help the people of Canterbury in any way possible. I look forward to assisting and welcoming everyone for a stay on the West Coast. Christchurch and the surrounding towns will recover from the devastating earthquake because Cantabrians will make it happen. Nothing beats community spirit. The earthquake will bring out the best in the people of the south. Let's all work together."

Matt Ewen, General Manager, Tourism West Coast says: "This is an opportunity for the West Coast, both tourism businesses and the wider community, to show our support to our neighbours in Canterbury. We are impressed with the generosity of the tourism operators in the Grey and Westland Districts, who cumulatively have offered the accommodation free of charge and made available their activities to those who have suffered hardship as a result of the earthquake."

Applications for the offer can be made online at the Solid Energy website www.coalnz.com or by phone on 0800 825 322, starting 10 am Wednesday, 15 September. Travel can be taken anytime between Friday 17 September and Wednesday, 20 October and will be subject to availability on the TranzAlpine.

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