Transport Minister Simon Bridges has welcomed the NZ Transport Agency Board’s approval of $231 million of improvements to the 60km section of State Highway 1 between Clarence and Oaro.
“The Government’s priority is to restore the pre-earthquake transport links to Kaikoura and its surrounding communities, and ensure these vital links are resilient long term,” Mr Bridges says.
“While the reinstatement work is ongoing we are also taking the opportunity to improve this section of State Highway 1 and make it better than it was before. This will provide a better experience for road users and tourists who use this important route.
“This $231 million investment is in addition to the $812 million reinstatement package announced in Budget 2017 and will help to improve safety, journey reliability, access and public amenities such as stopping areas and some cycle facilities,” Mr Bridges says.
Infrastructure improvements will include wider shoulders, additional safety barriers, more passing opportunities, and improved access and stopping areas.
“A new separated cycleway and walkway between Okiwi Bay and Mangamanu will provide a safer and more enjoyable way for people to experience this section of the iconic coastline on foot or by bike,” Mr Bridges says.
“These improvements will provide for great journeys and enhance visitor experiences to support increased tourism and economic growth in the region.
“The Government is committed to the reinstatement of State Highway 1 and the Main North Rail Line which remain on track to open before the end of this year,” Mr Bridges says.
The North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure (NCTIR) alliance will deliver the improvements alongside the Kaikoura earthquake reinstatement work, meaning minimal disruption for those that live, work or travel in the region.
Newly appointed members to the Major Events Investment Panel will widen its breadth of knowledge, particularly in business and events, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has announced.
Three new members have been appointed - Barry Maister, a current New Zealand representative on the International Olympic Committee, Sue Paterson, former Executive Director of the New Zealand Festival and Tim Cossar, Chief Executive of Te Puia, NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua.
Sir Brian Roche has been reappointed as Chair and Dame Therese Walsh as a member.
“The Major Events Development Fund is a contestable fund in which government invests in events that generate significant immediate and long-term benefits, and align with leverage and legacy opportunities,” Mr Bridges says.
“The new members were appointed after Cabinet agreed last year to changes to the panel’s structure. The changes will increase the commercial acumen of the panel, put more focus on prospecting for major events and enable the panel to respond effectively to the events sector.”
The panel reports to the Major Events Ministers Group and recommends how to invest the $10 million per annum fund.
The panel also advises the Ministers Group on securing significant international events and growing the international reputation of significant New Zealand owned events.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the first of three tourism-related transport projects in the Gisborne-Tairāwhiti region is nearing completion.
“The Horoera Bridge leading to the historic East Cape lighthouse will be replaced in a four day operation from 24 July,” Mr Bridges says.
The $400,000 project replaces the current bailey bridge with a single-lane concrete bridge. It is the first in a $1.5 million package of three, fully Crown-funded tourism-related roading projects originally announced in February at the release of the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan (He Huarahi Hei Whai Oranga).
“The new bridge will support tourist vehicles such as buses and campervans, allowing a growing number of tourists to drive right to the foot of New Zealand’s most easterly lighthouse,” Mr Bridges says.
It will also support High Productivity Motor Vehicles and boost the resilience of the route.
The Horoera Bridge project is being delivered by Tairāwhiti Roads, a partnership between the NZ Transport Agency and Gisborne District Council.
The section of East Cape Road from the bridge to the lighthouse will be closed on 24 July for four days while the new bridge is craned into place. Vehicles will be able to use the bridge from 9:00am on 28 July, and the project’s completion will be managed over the following three weeks with minimum inconvenience to traffic.
Work is also progressing on two other Crown-funded tourism-related transport initiatives in the Tairāwhiti region. The $700,000 upgrade of rest area facilities along State Highway 35 will develop safe stopping places and facilities for tourists, as well as information boards promoting regional attractions.
The $400,000 project to improve the 7km cycle link between the State Highway 2 Rere Falls Heartland Ride and the Motu Trails Great Ride will significantly enhance safety for cyclists and general traffic.
“These three projects directly reflect the roading and tourism priorities developed as part of the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan – particularly the need for investment in core tourism infrastructure and development of visitor services around the East Cape Lighthouse, Tokomaru Bay wharf and cycle tourism,” Mr Bridges says.
Note to editors
Gisborne business Ritchie Civil won the contestable tender for the Horoera Bridge replacement project. The company has established itself in the bridge market over the last two years with the successful completion of three bridge related contracts for Gisborne District Council.
Work is set to start next month on a cycleway through central Dunedin that will improve safety for cyclists, pedestrians and all road users, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.
“Fulton Hogan has been awarded an $8 million contract to build new cycle lanes on the north and southbound streets of the State Highway 1 one-way system between the Dunedin Botanical Gardens and Queens Gardens,” Mr Bridges says.
“This project will improve cycle safety on the one-way system through central Dunedin, a busy route that has to balance the competing needs of heavy freight vehicles and general traffic, as well as pedestrians and cyclists.”
The work involves replacement of the existing painted cycle lanes, which sit directly next to busy traffic lanes and placing new cycle lanes alongside the footpath, together with a series of islands to keep highway traffic and cyclists separated.
Another critical element of the work is a focus on improving pedestrian safety, with new traffic signals planned and existing traffic signal operations being upgraded to increase the protection for pedestrians when crossing.
In addition to improving the safety of the one-way system for everyone, the new cycle lanes will create better linkages to central city locations including the University, Polytechnic, hospital and the central city itself. It will also provide more convenient connections to the wider network of urban cycle routes being developed by the Dunedin City Council.
“I would like to acknowledge Dunedin based National List MP Michael Woodhouse for his strong advocacy in ensuring Crown funding was available once the plan for the cycleway had been finalised,” Mr Bridges says.
“This is one of the early projects in a work programme to create a Dunedin transport system with better, safer connections and more choices for people to move around, whether it’s by cycling, walking, driving or catching a bus.”
The cycleway is part of the Urban Cycleways Programme, which is delivering $333 million of new cycleway projects throughout the country. This is the single biggest investment in cycling in New Zealand’s history.
More details about this project can be found at: http://www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/dunedin-sh1-cycle-lane-safety-improvements-project/
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced Government funding of $50,000 for the Bay of Plenty to look at economic growth opportunities through the use of water across the region.
The announcement was made at the Bay of Connections Forum today in Rotorua where a refreshed Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan was launched.
“The Bay of Plenty region is blessed with the natural resource of water from its coastal and lake environments. It underpins economic growth opportunities across most of the key industries in the region – horticulture, forestry, agriculture and tourism,” Mr Bridges says.
The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries Irrigation Acceleration Fund and has been matched by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. It will enable the council to undertake a strategic water management study that could feed into a Water Management Plan for the region.
“This study will provide invaluable information to help ensure the region’s water is responsibly managed for the benefit of everybody in the area. It will help determine the need for water infrastructure, where it’s most needed and for what purpose,” Mr Guy says.
“Good water storage schemes are a foundation for responsible water management and communities become more resilient as a reliable water supply provides economic, environmental, cultural, recreational and social benefits.
“The study will help underpin the future direction of sustainable economic growth in the region. Without this work being done the opportunities for the best capture and use of fresh water in the region may not be fully recognised,” Mr Guy says.
The refreshed action plan reflects 46 completed or reassigned milestones and 38 new actions for the region. The region’s original action plan was launched in October 2015.
The action plan is regionally led and is supported by central government and represents a collaboration between local and central government, business and iwi.
The implementation of the plan is overseen by the Bay of Connections with the support from central government’s Regional Growth Programme. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. More information can be found at: www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/bop
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have welcomed a refresh of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan which was launched at the Bay of Connections forum in Rotorua today.
The refreshed action plan reflects 46 completed or reassigned milestones and 38 new actions for the region. It follows the announcement of a new $8.42 million Regional Research Institute in Tauranga, centred on horticulture.
“It is fantastic to see the rapid progress that has been made in implementing the plan so far. Successes include savings and improved efficiencies in moving freight to the Port, the development of a Maori youth strategy and projects to increase jobs in the Kiwifruit industry,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Bay of Plenty is one of New Zealand’s strongest growing regions, with an increase of 7.7 per cent in GDP in the last year. A wide range of sectors contribute to the success of the region, including horticulture, forestry, agriculture and tourism.
“The addition of the Regional Research Institute will further leverage the Bay of Plenty’s strengths in horticulture, particularly kiwifruit,” Mr Bridges says.
“These are great achievements but there are still significant opportunities to increase incomes and employment in the region through attracting new investment and increasing productivity and export prices. The plan’s refresh aims to tackle these opportunities,” Mr Guy says.
Key new actions include the development of Plantech, a new Regional Research Institute in Tauranga, the implementation of regional tourism priorities to support growth of the visitor economy to $2.5 billion by 2030, improvement in Maori Land Utilisation plus more initiatives from the Tertiary Intentions Leadership Group.
“The Bay of Plenty has a very productive and diverse horticulture, forestry and agriculture sector. A lot has already been achieved over the past 18 months to support the continued growth of primary industries in the region. The new initiatives announced today will ensure that momentum is maintained in the sector to support the region’s economic growth,” Mr Guy says.
“The refreshed action plan highlights the importance of maximising infrastructure. Funding was announced today to enable the region to look at economic growth opportunities through the use of water which will benefit many of the key industries in the region. This work will provide invaluable information to help ensure the region’s water is responsibly managed for the benefit of everybody in the area.”
The Government is contributing up to $3.2 million to help grow the West Coast visitor economy, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry announced today.
“Growing the West Coast visitor economy is a priority of the action plan. The region has significant potential to increase the appeal of its natural and heritage assets, adventure-based attractions, and cycling and walking trails,” says Mrs Bennett.
“The Government wants to see our regions benefitting from tourism growth, but this funding is also about supporting the West Coast to respond to demand with quality facilities and infrastructure.”
Mr Bridges says that while the West Coast is experiencing strong growth in international visitor numbers, growth in the domestic market could be stronger and more consistent.
“Challenges in growing the visitor economy include its distance from visitor markets, limited visitor awareness of the range of attractions, a high level of seasonality, infrastructure pressures, difficulty extracting value from many attractions, and a fragmented approach to promoting and developing tourism in the region,” says Mr Bridges.
The Action Plan has identified nine initiatives to support growth of the visitor economy.
“Four initiatives focus on developing and future proofing iconic visitor attractions. The objective is to extend visitors’ length of stay on the West Coast by improving the experience at less popular attractions, while also improving infrastructure at two established attractions – Punakaiki and Franz Josef,” says Ms Barry.
Government funding for the proposed initiatives is as follows:$90,000 for the development of the Oparara Arches near Karamea as an iconic attraction $850,000 for the extension of the Hokitika Gorge walking track and associated amenities, alongside safety improvements to the access road $1.8 million to future proof Punakaiki visitor and heritage infrastructure $225,000 to investigate future proofing Franz Josef infrastructure against flooding and earthquakes $40,000 toward a feasibility study for the upgrade of Croesus Road near Blackball for access to the Pike 29 Trail, which is part of the Paparoa Track Great Walk $50,000 toward a feasibility study for a Kawatiri (Charleston to Westport) Coastal Walking and Cycling Trail The Tai Poutini Māori Tourism Strategy and Action Plan – with $70,000 funding from Te Puni Kokiri subject to meeting the conditions of contestable funding.
Ms Barry added that it is particularly pleasing to note that Development West Coast is contributing a total of $150,000 to the funding of the Oparara, Kawatiri and Croesus Road initiatives.
The Government has joined the West Coast region to launch the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan in Hokitika today.
The Action Plan identifies five priorities for lifting economic growth - better economic development support, growing the West Coast visitor economy, making it easier to invest and do business, supporting economic diversification, and improving connectivity and infrastructure.
“The Government is committed to supporting the West Coast economy to grow and become more resilient. That’s why we’re partnering with the region through this Action Plan to invest up to $36.8 million in areas like tourism, ICT and primary industries,” Mr Bridges says.
“This includes $11 million for a new Regional Research Institute that will use innovative research and manufacturing techniques to unlock the potential of New Zealand’s minerals resources.
“As part of the 2016 Growth Study, opportunities were identified in sectors that could provide future employment. This is now the catalyst for implementing a number of projects including investing in growing the Coast’s digital economy.
“Connectivity, and enabling people and businesses to make the most of this connectivity, is vital for the region to grow, and to attract and retain digital businesses, entrepreneurs and skills,” Mr Bridges says.
“The West Coast’s natural resources and its microclimates are encouraging a number of niche primary sector initiatives which are outlined in the action plan,” Ms Upston says.
“We want to see if we can grow these industries into something bigger as they could provide substantial future employment opportunities.”
Ms Upston said whitebaiting is iconic to the West Coast and there are only a few commercial whitebait operations.
“An initiative in the Plan will look at potential risks to the sustainability of whitebaiting, as well as at protecting spawning sites. This work has the long term goal of developing a sustainable wild whitebait fishery on the West Coast,” Ms Upston says
In addition, the government will look at options to change legislation enabling ongoing access to timber on Public Conservation Land that is felled as a result of natural events.
Another initiative will explore using a social enterprise approach to developing new opportunities for horticulture, food and beverage in Karamea, and potentially throughout the region.
The implementation of the Plan will be overseen by the West Coast Regional Growth Governance Group with support from central government’s Regional Growth Programme.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges has announced an $18.5 million package of transport projects for the West Coast to help improve the region’s transport network.
The Government launched today the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Action Plan.
“The West Coast’s distance from the main employment and business centres in the South Island and wider New Zealand means it is very dependent on safe and reliable transport links,” Mr Bridges says.
“The road network is particularly important for business connections and freight flows. That’s why we’re announcing a package of initiatives to improve safety and resilience of the region’s roads.
“An addition to the package is the replacement of one of the last single-lane bridges in the region - Ahaura Bridge on State Highway 7 between Greymouth and Springs Junction – with a new two lane bridge at a cost of up to $15 million.
“The last remaining single lane bridge on the route, Stony Creek Bridge, which is expected to cost $3.5 million will also be replaced, with a Detailed Business Case for the replacement getting underway in the next year.
“Good progress is being made on the new two-lane road bridge over the Taramakau River. Completion of this long-awaited bridge at the end of next year will significantly improve safety, travel times and the journey experience for everyone.
“It will provide an important connection for freight through to Canterbury and Otago, and separate road, rail and cycling/pedestrian traffic, making it safer for all travellers. These improved cycle links will help grow the tourism opportunities that are developing along the West Coast, such as the Wilderness Trail,” Mr Bridges says.
Construction of the two new bridges being built on SH7, between Greymouth and Reefton, will help strength the network and provide even better connections.
The Government has already committed to spending $3.5 million in the next years for more no-passing lines and keep-left arrows, improving signage and installing safety barriers along SH6 and SH73, as part of its programme to improve safety for visiting drivers.
“Our investment is focused on road resilience and safer visitor routes. The New Zealand Transport Agency will work with local authorities and the Regional Transport Committee to keep improving the West Coast network to support the region’s economic prosperity,” Mr Bridges says.
Background for editors
Regional economic development is a key part of the Government’s Business Growth Agenda. The West Coast was included in the Government’s Regional Growth Programme in November 2015. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. More information can be found at http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/west-coast
The Government has announced a comprehensive strategy to reduce the number of at-risk young people not in employment or training in regional New Zealand.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith joined Prime Minister Bill English who made the announcement at Mr Apple in Hawke’s Bay today.
The $50 million initiative is funded from Budget 2017 and will be delivered as part of the Regional Growth Programme. It will see central and local government partner with Iwi, businesses and support agencies, in order to plan, implement and fund interventions that are unique and tailored to each region.
“Getting young people into long-term employment is a key component of sustained regional economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.
“The four regions we’re targeting have a high proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training. But they also have strong primary industries, and other sectors, hungry to employ local talent.
“This programme will match those youth to the employers and through intensive pastoral work, tailored to each region and individual, keep them in employment.
“We will work to understand the specific needs of the young people most at risk of long term unemployment while also making clear the obligations that come with this initiative. Young people who are receiving income support have a responsibility to engage with the programme and do what they can to successfully move into education or employment.
“Our aim is to create locally driven solutions which get young people engaged and ready to fill available vacancies in their region,” Mr Bridges says.
“We know that getting young people into employment can transform lives. While many will move into education, training or employment in their own time, a small number of young people need more targeted help,” Mrs Tolley says.
“This programme deliberately targets young people with complex needs and at risk of being long term unemployed without the right support systems.
“We want to ensure these young people have the right mix of support and obligations. We are also focused on reducing barriers to employment, and we want to actively support youth to address recreational drug use.
“This is about delivering a local approach that works hand in hand with these young people to make locally run support services more accessible, and to ensure that they build the skills they need to find work in their region,” Mrs Tolley says.
The strategy follows the model tested by trials such as Kaikohe Grow in Northland, and Project 1000 in Hawkes’ Bay, which have a number of youth on or in a pathway into employment.
“This Government is doing more than ever before to connect our young people to education and employment,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“This programme will focus on providing young people in the regions with greater access to support, work readiness programmes, training, education and direct access to employment.
“The result will be a pool of employable young people, working for regional employers, which in turn will support social and economic growth in each region,” Mr Goldsmith says.