A $3.4 million investment into the Taranaki Crossing is part of the Government’s plan to boost growth in Taranaki, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say.

The investment will over time form part of Taranaki’s Economic Action Plan as part of the Government’s Regional Growth Programme.

This week, Minister Bridges welcomed the launch of Make Way for Taranaki. The project, led by the region, will prepare an economic strategy and plan of action for Taranaki for the next 10 years.

“This is the first step in working towards an economic action plan for the Taranaki region,” says Mr Bridges.

“Taranaki performs well in sectors like dairy and energy, but there is significant scope to diversify products and investment, and build long-term resilience in the region.

“Tourism is one sector which has the potential for significant growth, having grown steadily over the last three years,” says Mr Bridges.

Ms Barry says the investment in the Taranaki Crossing forms part of a $76 million DOC tourism infrastructure package announced through Budget 2017.

“The Government’s announcement of $3.4 million towards enhancing the infrastructure on this crossing will support the development of what will be a truly world class experience in Taranaki,” says Ms Barry.

“We are developing a network of Great Short Walks and Great Day Walks because of increasing demand for activities that can be done in a day or less. Great Day Walks and Great Short Walks will give people more choices.”

“The DOC estate is our biggest and best-known tourism asset and the new walks networks will ensure we can maximise the tourism benefits for biodiversity and threatened species protection.”

“Overseas visitor numbers are set to reach 4.5 million in just five years and we need to be ready.

“Since 2013 DOC, with partners including Te Atiawa and Taranaki Tuturu Iwi, New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council and Venture Taranaki Trust, has been examining options for improving access on what is now being called the ‘Taranaki Crossing’.

“Although much of the detail is yet to be worked out, including through further consultation with Iwi and hapū, the broad plan involves upgrading existing tracks, adding new bridges, toilets, signage and interpretation at an estimated $1.8 million. A further estimated $1.6 million will be required for on-going operating and maintenance, and other associated costs.”

The work is expected to be completed over a two to three-year period.

“We would also like to acknowledge the work of New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young who has worked tirelessly on this project over the last three years,” Mr Bridges says.

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