Gee, Julie Ann – you had us thinking one city would be hogging half the investment earmarked for cycleways

Latest from the Beehive –

It looked (at first blush) like Christchurch would gobble up around half the money earmarked by the government for projects to get us on our bikes.

Julie Anne Genter, Associate Minister of Transport and a Green with a fondness for two-wheeled, pedal-driven transport, today banged out two press statements.

One of these, headed Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment, triggered the Point of Order Trough Monitor.

We quickly established that just a few of those $220 million are actually being invested in the Te Awa Ride.

The second statement was headed Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch.

No figure was mentioned in the heading, but big bucks were bandied in the text of the statement.

Genter advised that six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery.

Then she said:

$125 million will be invested to kick-start construction and fund the completion of the following cycleway projects:

  • The 12km Nor’West Arc cycleway – connecting Cashmere to the University, and Papanui.
  • The 15km Southern Express cycleway – connecting Templeton, Hornby, Riccarton and the city centre.
  • Redcliffs to Shag rock – completing the Coastal Pathway.
  • Rapanui cycleway – connecting the Coastal Pathway to Linwood and the city centre.
  • The Northern Line pathway – connecting Belfast to South Hagley Park and the CBD.
  • Heathcote Expressway – extend the existing cycleway from the Tannery in Woolston to Ferrymead Historic Park and Heathcote.

And where does the money come from?

The statement told us:

Funding for these projects is part of the $220 million cycleway package included in the Government’s $3 billion ‘shovel-ready’ infrastructure projects as well as from the National Land Transport Fund and Christchurch City Council.

Stuff  has come up with numbers that we couldn’t find in the minister’s press statement.

Its report, headed Christchurch secures $87.3m in ‘shovel-ready’ funding for cycleways, enthuses:

Christchurch is the big winner from the Government’s $220 million shovel-ready cycleways package, securing more than a third of the funding.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter on Saturday announced $71.5m in new funding to complete and fast-track several major cycleways in the city.

The Stuff report explains that this follows an earlier announcement of $15.8 million to complete the final section of the Christchurch coastal pathway between Redcliffs and Rapanui – Shag Rock.

The $87.3 million is in addition to pre-existing Christchurch City Council and NZ Transport Agency commitments, taking the total spend to $125m to complete six major cycling routes, some of which are already partly open.

A spokeswoman for Genter confirmed to Stuff that Christchurch had received the most cycleways funding of any centre outside Auckland.

In her other statement today, Genter had good news (but not nearly as much funding) for cyclists and walkers in the Waikato.

 She announced funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride,  which she described as

“ … the latest part of massive growth in the cycling and walking network in the Waikato, making it so much easier, safer and more fun to get around without a car”.

 The spending in this case was buried much deeper down in the press statement, perhaps because it was very modest compared with the $125 million – or should that be $75.5 million or $87.3 million? – that will improve the wellbeing of Christchurch pedal-pushers.

Genter did toss numbers into the first few paragraphs, but without dollar signs.

  • The Hamilton to Cambridge section of the Te Awa River Ride is a 20km shared path, separated from traffic, that connects Hamilton, Tamahere Village, St Peters school, Avantidrome, and Cambridge with a safe, separated cycleway.
  • When complete, the Hamilton to Cambridge section will form part of the Te Awa River Ride – a 70km path that will generally follow the banks of the Waikato River from Ngaruawahia to Horahora.
  • An estimated 110,000 people will use the facility each year , which Genter reckons is likely to increase with the popularity of e-bikes and scooters, making the trip viable for both commuters and for those out for a recreational ride.

Then she mentioned the bonus of environmental benefits:  plantings along the cycleway project, with funding from the Waikato River Authority, will help improve the water quality and biodiversity along the banks of the Waikato River.

And – at last – we were given the dollar signs.

“In Tūrangi, this funding makes it safer to get around with $6.6 million for roughly 30km of pathway and intersection accessibility improvements, and improving waste-water management.

“In Taupō, this funding includes $4 million for improvements to connect communities and make it easier to walk and cycle – with safe connections between Lake Taupō, residential areas, shops, schools and kindergartens, playgrounds, and recreational areas.”

 More spending was announced by Police Minister Stuart Nash – $25 million for the Whanganui Police Hub project, a hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced.

The project is expected to directly generate around 100 jobs and support hundreds of others. Local small businesses and contractors in the construction industry and services sector now have greater certainty about the pipeline of projects in the region, Nash said.

His  press statement gave some breakdowns of how our money is being spent.

We are reminded 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 principal.

These sectors (excluding a $400m contingency) are –

  • Housing and urban development: $464m
  • Environmental: $460m
  • Community and social development: $670m
  • Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708m

The approximate regional breakdown is:

  • Auckland region                      $500 million
  • Bay of Plenty Region              $170 million
  • Canterbury                              $300 million
  • East Coast                              $106 million
  • Hawke’s Bay                           $130 million
  • Manawatu/Whanganui            $140 million
  • Northland                                $150 million
  • Otago                                      $260 million
  • Southland                                 $90 million
  • Taranaki                                    $85 million
  • Top of the South                       $85 million
  • Waikato                                   $150 million
  • Wellington region                    $185 million
  • West Coast                               $90 million

The IRG investments are intended to help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. They are in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund investments.

The very reliable source of our information is the Beehive website –

8 AUGUST 2020

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The Government has re-affirmed its commitment to supporting the hosting of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup, which the ICC has delayed from 2021 to 2022.

Green light for Te Awa River Ride in $220m nationwide cycleways investment

Cyclists and walkers will now have a safer way to get around Taupō, Tūrangi, and between Hamilton and Cambridge, with funding for shared paths and Te Awa River Ride, Associate Minister of Trans

Six major ‘shovel-ready’ cycleways funded in Christchurch

Six major cycle routes will be completed in Christchurch thanks to funding from the Government’s investment in shovel-ready infrastructure as part of the COVID-19 recovery Associate Minister of Trans

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Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced.

 

 

 

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