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More rural communities get infrastructure funding

13 April

More rural communities get millions of dollars in infrastructure funding

Five small rural communities are to receive a substantial cash injection from the government totalling almost $8 million to help maximise benefits from tourism, Tourism Minister Damien O'Connor announced today.

The awards come from the Tourism Demand Subsidy Scheme, an $11 million fund set up by the Labour-led government in 2004 to help qualifying small communities fund water and wastewater infrastructure needed to sustain tourism.

Hurunui District Council is to receive $544,460 for water and wastewater improvements in Hanmer Springs; Whangarei District Council $1,297,640 for wastewater in Tutukaka; Buller District Council $3,294,430 for water and wastewater in Punakaiki; Kaikoura District Council $1,852,940 for wastewater; and the Far North District council $964,375 for water in Paihia.

This is the second instalment paid out under the scheme. In January, four district councils received more than $2 million.

Mr O'Connor said the scheme was a key part of the government's drive towards achieving sustainable tourism.

“Smaller communities where rating bases are small can struggle to fund services required by visitors, who expect hot showers, clean drinking water, and functional toilets. This investment helps communities meet that demand."

The scheme is aligned with the Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme administered by the Ministry of Health and was developed jointly by the Ministries of Tourism, Health, and Internal Affairs, and Local Government New Zealand. Comment was sought from all key stakeholders.

In total, 32 communities from 16 districts applied for the funding, which the government was considering extending, Mr O'Connor said.

"The demand for funding highlights the value of the scheme. The government is looking closely at ways to continue further rounds in future."

Applications demonstrated high levels of tourism demand, and were scored on public health and environmental benefits, affordability, tourist flows and the percentage of tourist driven costs, Mr O'Connor said.


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