PM announces cycle trail funding boost
The country's scenic cycle trails are getting $25 million of government funding in a bid to boost tourism in the regions.
The pre-budget announcement from Prime Minister John Key comes on top of a pledge of $20 million for the tourism sector earlier in the week.
The spend will be spread over four years, with about $13 million already provisionally planned to pay for half of connecting the Great Rides cycle trails in Central Otago to form a continuous 536km track.
"The New Zealand Cycle Trail has already been extremely successful in attracting high-value visitors to the regions and getting them to stay longer, with regional economies experiencing positive spin-offs such as a growth in jobs," said Mr Key.
"This new funding of $25 million will support work to connect some Great Rides so communities can benefit from visitors spending more time on trails, as well as linking visitors to regional tourist destinations."
The other half of the Central Otago project will be funded by the Central Lakes and the Otago Community Trusts.
It will connect the Queenstown Trail, the Otago Central Rail Trail, the Roxburgh Gorge Trail and the Clutha Gold Trail.
Mr Key said other regions could apply for funding for projects, with communities and councils required to co-fund them.
The New Zealand Cycle Trail includes about 2500km of outdoor bike trails across the length of the country.