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Three Wairoa projects get Government funding

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Three vital Wairoa roading and construction projects will go ahead under the Government’s COVID-19 shovel ready recovery programme.

The replacement of the Patangata Bridge at Whakaki, realignment of the Nuhaka River Road at Nuhaka and repair of the Rangatahi Dropout at Mahia have all received 100 percent Central Government funding.

The projects carry a combined funding total of around $2.5 million and have been approved under the Government’s allocation of $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19.

The work will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker redeployment package, announced in March.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement which saw Hawke’s Bay receive $15.24 million creating around 220 jobs.

The Ministers said workers throughout New Zealand have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and their aim is to put in place measures to soften the impact on workers and businesses in some of the most affected areas.

“We need to keep New Zealand businesses going, workers in jobs and regional economies afloat and viable, while at the same time ensuring the health of our country is not compromised,” they said.

The Hawke’s Bay projects will mostly focus on safety improvements and maintenance projects for roads and bridges with training provided for workers looking to be deployed.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said it was fantastic three such important Wairoa projects were included in the funding announcement.

“Council has always recognised these projects needed completing but our stumbling block has been how we were going to be able to afford to finance the work.

“Council’s strong relationship and reputation of getting the job done well with the Provincial Development Unit, combined with the collaborative work we have undertaken with the communities involved in these projects has produced a successful outcome.

“To get these projects shovel ready in such a short time is a tribute to our chief executive Steven May and his staff, particularly our engineering department.

“These projects had to go through a rigorous process to be accepted and because of the calibre and professionalism of our staff, and the fact we had the vital information required readily available, we were able to develop successful business cases, despite the restraints of the lockdown.

“For us to be able to attract around $2.5 million to complete three such worthwhile projects and without that having any impact on our rates is great news.

“I know when people think about Council they think about rates and spending and everyone has an opinion. This is an example of massive spending which will result in major improvements and the cost to our local ratepayers is next to nothing.

“Plus, there will be positive employment spin offs which will just add to making Wairoa an even more desirable place to live and call home.

“The Patangata Bridge is essential so when there is tangihanga our people can safely access the urupā and it is a vital access bridge for the landowners.

“It has been a real struggle for the Whakaki community, and it is great that the Government has recognised the concerns that our Council has been advocating.

“The Nuhaka River Road is another project that does not affect a lot of people, but it does involve a Council road and there will be massive benefits for the landowners by having the realignment carried out.

“The Rangatahi Dropout at Mahia is a real battle with nature and Council has struggled to be able to afford to repair this section.

“It is an important road in our community and sustainable access is linked with the aspirations of Rongomaiwahine, our local community and local businesses.

“This work is just the beginning. Council is also partnering with local iwi, and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on a range of vital projects that we hope will also receive Government support.”

The Government announced its $100 million workers redeployment package in March. To support worker redeployment in Tairāwhiti, $28 million was allocated from the fund, as well as $6.2 million to support redeployment of forestry workers nationally.

The package is administered through the Provincial Development Unit which will continue to work with regions to determine whether there are further projects that can be supported via the Provincial Growth Fund.

25 May 2020

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