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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