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Maintenance funding for NZ cycle trails announced

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Minister of Tourism

28 February 2014

Maintenance funding for NZ cycle trails announced

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key today, in a pre-Budget announcement, said $8 million would be invested over four years to help maintain the quality of the New Zealand Cycle Trail (NZCT) Great Rides.

'Nga Haerenga - The New Zealand Cycle Trail' is a partnership project between the Government and the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Prime Minister, speaking in Queenstown, also announced up to $500,000 in additional funding for the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail in Southland.

“The New Zealand Cycle Trail is a valuable tourism asset for New Zealand and it is important that they maintain their high quality reputation and continue to provide an excellent experience for riders,” Mr Key says.

A recent evaluation report showed the trails are going from strength to strength. Last year the Great Rides experienced a 56 per cent average growth rate, with an estimated 97,000 trail users for the month of January 2014 alone.

“To ensure the cycle trails continue to provide economic benefit to their local communities, this contestable funding package will assist with maintaining the quality of the trails should they experience significant weather damage or need major enhancements,” says Mr Key.

The additional funding for the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail means the Southland District Council can finalise the first stage of construction by the end of May 2014. This funding means the cycle trail will now include the township of Athol.

Nga Haerenga – the New Zealand Cycle Trail Incorporated Society will work alongside local trail providers to manage the trails.

This funding will be allocated in Budget 2014 on May 15.

Questions and Answers

Contestable fund for Maintaining the Quality for the Great Rides

What is the fund for?
The funding is being made available to maintain the quality of the Great Rides. Government is committed to ensuring that the $47.5 million investment made in the Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail network continues to provide an outstanding experience for riders. The aim of the fund is to help local communities respond to unexpected situations, like storms washing out tracks. It was always expected that the Trails would be responsible for day-to-day maintenance.

How much money will be available?
The contestable fund will make $2 million available per year for four years.

Will trails need to have matching funds and how will trails apply to get the money?
The detailed criteria for funding applications are still being developed, however the contestable fund will require at least 50 per cent matched funding from applicants.

Who can access the funding?
Only full members of NZCT Inc (the newly created Incorporated Society that is responsible for the future governance and management of the NZCT) will be eligible for funding maintaining the quality of Great Rides.

Who will administer the fund and when will the first funding round take place?

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will administer the maintenance fund and further details will be available when the funding criteria have been confirmed, probably sometime after July 2014.

Will there be any limits on the amount of money Trails can get?
Further details will be available when the funding criteria have been confirmed, probably sometime after July 2014.

Additional Funding of Around the Mountains Trail

Is the Government giving additional funding for the NZCT because the original funding package was under resourced to complete the trails?
The vision for the NZCT is to increase economic development and provide a high quality, valuable tourism asset for New Zealand. The Government committed to funding these trails through their construction. The additional funding is a sensible and timely response to unexpected challenges in the latter stages of the whole project.

Why has the government given more funding to the Around the Mountains Trail?
The initial funding granted to the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail was based on a design that routed the cycle trail through Flagstaff Station using an existing paper road. Using that route reduced the overall cost of the trail.

Taking that route also meant that, in that area, the trail ceased to follow the tracks of the historic Kingston Flyer. So when a dispute over land access made the proposed route impractical, the Council approached the Government with an alternative proposal to utilise the railway land and take the cycle trail through the township of Athol. This proposal has the advantages of bring additional economic stimulus to Athol and maintaining the link between the cycleway and the historic railway.

When will the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail be opened?
Stage One of the trail (from Kingston to Lumsden/Mossburn will be completed by 31 May 2014. The second stage of the trail – Mossburn to Walter Peak via Mavora – will be completed in December 2015. The Southland District Council last year voted to underwrite the costs of completing the cycle trail.

What’s the current situation of the Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail?
• 15 of the trails are now open (the Taupo trail opens early April and most of the others will open this year)
• 2484kms have been built ( 186kms are under construction)
• The build phase created 1100 new jobs and developed tourism infrastructure that will provide long term boosts to regional economies.
• All ‘Great Rides’ have experienced growth in trail usage, particularly in the last year (56 per cent average growth in trail user numbers for the year ended January 2014). Trail users across the NZCT network was estimated to reach 97,000 for the month of January 2014 alone

A new national body – Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail Inc – has been established to govern and manage the NZCT. It is chaired by Richard Leggett and has other Board members elected by the Trails.

ENDS

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