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Tourism Minister Paula Bennett is calling on councils to apply for co-funding from the new $100 million Tourism Infrastructure Fund which opens today.

Budget 2017 invests $100 million over four years for the development of visitor-related public infrastructure such as carparks, freedom camping facilities and sewerage and water works.

“Councils with infrastructure needs caused by high visitor numbers should be getting their applications in,” Mrs Bennett says.

“The first round will focus on supporting communities in most immediate need of assistance, those councils with low ratepayer bases who are facing pressure from increasing visitor numbers.

“Councils have told me they are facing infrastructure needs, so we are providing millions of dollars of co-funding to address this. The fund’s criteria are designed to favour those communities that really need a hand from central government. We need them to help us meet this demand by now spending that money.

“There is a lot of scope for our regional economies to further benefit from the growth in the tourism industry that New Zealand is experiencing. That’s why this fund also takes a longer term view by co-funding infrastructure and feasibility studies that will help unlock that potential.”

Applications will be accepted until 4 September from local councils and community groups with council support. Previous Mid-sized Facilities Fund grants of $8.8 million have funded 42 council projects around New Zealand.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-infrastructure-fund

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