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First Cycleway Projects in New Zealand Selected for Quick Start

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In a speech to local government, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the government had set aside $9 million from the $50 million New Zealand Cycleway Fund for projects earmarked for a ‘Quick Start'.

Mr Key said that the first three large regional clusters were formed by 21 Mayors and Chairpersons in Northland, the Central and Eastern North Island, and the south of the South Island. These clusters, along with the Department of Conservation, have recommended a small number of projects they believe can be started this summer.

"This is a fantastic example of a cooperative approach that will be critical to the success of the Cycleway. I would also like to acknowledge Kevin Hague of the Green Party for his help on this project."

The Cycleway projects that have been selected for ‘Quick Start' are: Waikato River Trail, Central North Island Rail Trail, Mount Ruapehu to Wanganui, St James Trail, Hokianga to Opua/Russell, Hauraki Plains Trail and Southland Around the Mountain Rail Trail.

"While some of these tracks require further feasibility work to be completed I am confident that most, if not all, of these tracks will be well positioned for construction to commence this summer."

If all seven tracks go ahead it is estimated close to 300 jobs will be created from the construction, with that rising to more than 500 per year as supporting businesses are developed.

"These are only the first set of projects for the New Zealand Cycleway. As the number of tracks grow, and cycle tourism increases, the numbers of jobs generated will increase," Mr Key added.

"The overall vision for the New Zealand Cycleway is to generate lasting economic, social, and environmental benefits for our communities by a network of ‘Great Rides' through some of our most beautiful scenery."

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