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Funding For Whangārei’s Infrastructure Projects Revealed

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package aimed at kick-starting the post COVID-19 economic rebuild.

“The funding is an investment in the wellbeing infrastructure of Whangārei, covering a group of projects identified by the region as priorities. They include a cultural centre, new mixed transport pathways and sports and trades training facilities,” Shane Jones said.

“Building infrastructure is a key component of our economic recovery plan. It creates jobs and provides much-needed economic stimulus. Money invested now will reap rewards later as we take care of our communities.”

Whangārei District Council will now receive $16m for its mixed transport construction programme. This will provide a safer network of transport paths throughout Whangārei city, including a contribution to upgrading Port Nikau bridge and roundabout.

The Hihiaua Cultural Centre will receive $3m towards construction costs. The centre aims to be a showcase of Tai Tokerau Māori arts, culture and heritage.

The Whangārei Boys High School Engineering Academy will receive $1m towards the construction of a purpose-built engineering facility that will enable industry-focused training on site for students throughout the Tai Tokerau region.

A total of $6m will be divided between three wellbeing infrastructure projects. The Northland Rugby Union will receive $1.5m to enable it to complete building its clubrooms on Pohe Island, putting the club on track to help host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in September 2021.

The remainder of the funding will go towards the development of a bike park at William Fraser Memorial Park on Pohe Island ($2m), and the construction of a recreation facility at Ruakaka ($2.5m) with indoor courts, gym, lounge, kitchen, office, and changing rooms which will benefit the area’s growing population.

“This funding for Whangārei will provide the community and wider region with confidence that the Government is backing them in this challenging economic environment by creating new jobs and opportunities,” Shane Jones said.

The rejuvenation funding is part of the $3 billion infrastructure package in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones last week. The fund is expected to deliver more than 20,000 jobs across New Zealand and unlock investment with a project value of more than $5 billion.

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