Environment Waikato and Thames-Coromandel District Council are to seek more information from ferry company Fullers over its intentions regarding 360 Discovery, the company which operates a ferry service between Coromandel and Auckland.
The announcement that the Commerce Commission has given Fullers permission to buy 360 Discovery coincides with news that the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is not prepared to put funds into subsidising 360’s Coromandel to Auckland run.
NZTA, along with EW and TCDC, had been looking at whether to inject new funds into the 360 service after the company announced earlier this year that it would axe the run because it could no longer sustain losses. It is currently operating a winter service at weekends only.
The chair of the Regional Transport Committee, Norm Barker of EW, and TCDC Mayor Philippa Barriball said they would seek more information from Fullers on its intentions.
"The fact that NZTA has decided against supporting 360 Discovery, coupled with news of Fullers’ interest in the company, means we are now dealing with a totally different situation," said Cr Barker. "We will be approaching Fullers to see what their plans are as they may obviously have an impact on how EW approaches the situation."
Mayor Barriball said TCDC would weigh up the situation after discussion with Fullers to see what her council would do. "We’re aware there is support for continuing the 360 Discovery service, but neither EW nor TCDC has put aside funding for a subsidy this year. With NZTA ruling out funding, and Fullers entering the picture, we will have to look very carefully at what role we now play."