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Source: New Zealand Government

The Government is providing funding of more than $14 million for community and infrastructure projects in the Far North to help create jobs and boost the regional economy, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has announced.

A total of $10.8 million will go towards shovel-ready projects, including an exciting development involving Far North iwi.

“This investment recognises the Far North needs revitalising as Te Hiku o Te Ika (the tail of the fish) has a history rich in culture and heritage but is one of the poorest regions in the country,” Shane Jones said. 

Te Hiku is home to the townships of Kaitaia, Mangamuka, Ahipara, Awanui, Taipa, Mangonui, Pukenui and Te Kao.

Te Hiku o Te Ika represents the five iwi of the Far North; Ngāti Kurī, Ngāi Takoto, Ngāti Kahu, Te Aupōuri and Te Rarawa, with a combined population of around 34,000.

Far North District Council will receive $7 million to build a cycle trail and shared path linking Ahipara, Kaitaia, Awanui to Te One Roa A Tohe (90 Mile Beach) and Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Reinga). Each iwi will provide a unique artwork of up to 8m tall at the entrances of their towns.

Far North District Council is leading the project with support from the Kaitaia Business Association, Northland Regional Council and Te Hiku iwi.

“This is a really exciting project that will link and bring together these towns and iconic sites, and encourage visitors to explore this amazing part of the country,” Shane Jones said.

“The culture of Te Hiku, combined with the stunning scenery and usually temperate climate, is something all New Zealanders need to experience. This investment will result in vibrant spaces and community pride, not to mention stimulating the regional economy, providing jobs and setting it up for the future.”

Construction is expected to take 18 months and create up to 80 jobs. Local businesses will be used where possible to supply the materials required and there will also be employment opportunities for local iwi and apprentice artists and carvers.

Another significant project being funded is an affordable housing development.

“Kaitaia-based social services provider Hē Korowai will receive $1.8 million to develop sites for 24 houses relocated from Auckland to provide affordable homes for ownership,” Shane Jones said.

“Affordable housing is in short supply and extremely high demand in this region. This project aims to provide warm, dry, quality housing at a price that reflects the incomes of the people who live here.”

The funding will provide for 26 civil works jobs and the refit of the houses themselves will employ 10 trade students, six tradespeople and five support staff.

In addition to these significant investments in infrastructure, Shane Jones also announced the refurbishment of two important wharves in the region.

Far North Holdings will receive $1 million towards the cost of upgrading Pukenui Wharf, New Zealand’s northern-most public wharf.

Pukenui Wharf on Houhora Harbour is a community hub and has a long history of recreational and commercial activity. The work will create about 20 jobs across professional and maritime services and construction.

Unahi Wharf at Awanui will also get a $1 million injection to help establish it as a multi-purpose wharf for recreational and commercial vessels.

Unahi Warf was built in 1926, driven by Awanui’s development as a transport hub that allowed large vessels to navigate through the river to the vicinity of the current township.

It currently services around 12 inshore fishing boats but there are plans to replace the existing structure to accommodate heavier craft and build a new pontoon and gangway at the end of the boat ramp to accommodate recreational boating facilities.

The project will create about 16 jobs.

Shane Jones also announced, in separate funding, more than $2 million for Far North projects from the Government’s worker redeployment package to help workers displaced by COVID-19 into jobs.

Ngāti Kuri Trust Board will receive $986,710 for fencing waterways and riparian planting. Tapuwae Inc, which owns 1600ha of Māori freehold land, will receive $1.1 million to fence all its waterways to prevent stock from entering them. The projects will provide up to 27 jobs.

“These projects will provide much-needed economic stimulus and jobs for the Far North, which is one of the most deprived areas in New Zealand,” Shane Jones said.

“I am also delighted that, as Forestry Minister, I am able to announce One Billion Trees funding of $381,550 for three projects in the Far North.

“Tane’s Tree Trust will receive $44,304 to re-measure sample plots of Northland’s beloved tōtara for growth rates, responses to silviculture management and improvements in biodiversity values.

“Hokianga Harbour​ Care will receive $266, 906 to continue working to improve the freshwater ecosystems of the catchment flowing into the Hokianga Harbour.

“Tapuwae Inc will get $70,340 for its seed collection project which involves a stocktake of native flora on its land, working out how best to protect and propagate any endangered species and which to collect seeds from to grow seedlings for its nursery.”

Shane Jones also announced $922,000 from the National Land Transport Fund for a new roundabout at the intersection of Mathews Ave and State Highway 1 in Kaitaia.

“With the relocation of a number of major retail stores north of the intersection, traffic volumes have increased considerably.

“To reduce traffic queuing at the giveway and to make the intersection safer, this funding will go towards the construction of the roundabout, footpath realignment and crossing, traffic islands, better lighting and signage,” Shane Jones said.

“Today’s announcements will make a world of difference in the areas being funded, and I am proud that this Government has been able to deliver on its word to help reduce poverty and increase economic activity and job opportunities for Northlanders.”

Editors notes

Shovel-ready infrastructure projects are being funded as part of the investments announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones on July 1 to kick-start the post COVID-19 rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand.

The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principle.

All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.

MIL OSI