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$11 million announcement welcomed

15 June 2018

$11 million announcement for economic development in the Manawatū-Whanganui Region welcomed

Manawatū-Whanganui regional leaders have welcomed Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones’ announcement today of almost $1 million towards planting in the Horizons Region and a $10 million loan to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Ltd for the construction of a high-speed gondola on the Whakapapa ski field from government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

Horizons Regional Council chair and Accelerate25 lead team member Bruce Gordon says today’s announcements will make a significant contribution to the Mānuka, land optimisation, and tourism and visitor services opportunities identified in the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan as well as provide environmental benefits to the region.

“Investment in planting approximately 1.35 million trees into forestry, made up of over 800,000 Mānuka plants, with the rest being predominately radiata pine seedlings and alternative species, creates more than just jobs and revenue streams - planting in our hill country protects farm land from erosion and improves water quality by reducing sediment in rivers,” says Mr Gordon.

“Over 1,000 hectares of erosion-prone farm land will be planted throughout the region by the end of September 2018.

“We are appreciative of central government’s funding towards this winter’s planting ahead of the One Billion Trees programme due to be finalised next year.

Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron says the $10 million loan to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Ltd for the construction of a high-speed gondola on Mt Ruapehu is fantastic.

“This investment captures the excitement and promise of tourism development and what it can deliver for the region and NZ’s economic future and will enable the $25 million project to be completed in time for next year’s ski season,” says Mr Cameron.

“The new alpine lift is estimated to attract an additional half a million visitors to our district by 2025, boosting regional tourism, employment and investor confidence for developing other iconic visitor experiences as we grow visitor expenditure to $400m by 2028.

“It is rewarding to see the collaborative efforts of our Ruapehu Regional Visitor Development Plan and Accelerate25 coming to fruition. We welcome the formal partnership with central government and local stakeholders.”

Mr Gordon says today’s announcements are a positive example of how the region has come together to help unlock potential.

“It’s important to acknowledge the Provincial Development Unit for making this commitment to our region,” he says.

ENDS

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