Charter company says it is suspending its $1bn investment in Newcastle due to low oil prices
New Zealand’s largest charter company has said it is halting an investment of $1.3bn in Newcastle as it struggles to keep up with demand from Asian markets.
Key points:CharterNZ said it was not planning to spend any more money in the cityThe company’s shares are trading at $1,275 (NZD$1,050) higher than the market averageCharter said it would be investing $1m in a building to create more jobs in NewcastleNorth WestLink was set to become the world’s first underground tunnel connecting two major North Western cities in the US.
Key point:Charters NZ chief executive Andrew Tarr said it had taken a “hard decision” to stop investing in NewcastleCharters had been investing heavily in the North WestLink project, which was set for completion in 2019.
But it said the Newcastle city council was taking a “different” approach to investing, and it had not yet decided whether to continue.
“I have always been clear with the Newcastle City Council that I don’t intend to invest in Newcastle again,” Mr Tarr told NZX television.
“They have to take a different approach.”
Newcastle is the largest city in New Zealand with around 2.5 million people.
Its council was set up in 1885 to run the city, which has a population of over 3 million.
Charters said it decided to suspend its investment in the project because of the city’s lack of demand.
“Our focus has been on our North West Link, and we’ve been working with the city council to make sure we can support them to get it done as well as being able to provide more jobs,” Mr Thrasher said.
“Newcastle has the largest population in New England, but they have the lowest level of investment in their infrastructure.”
Charters’ investment in North Westlink is expected to create 500 jobs, including more than 150 apprentices and support staff.
It said it has invested in several infrastructure projects around Newcastle, including the Newcastle Harbour Bridge, the CityLink tunnel and the North East Link tunnel.
“We are continuing to invest into the North Central Rail Link, the North CityLink and the EastLink,” Mr Twomey said.
Charter has spent around $2bn to invest and hire around 1,200 people across New Zealand.
The company also runs charter schools in the country.