Queenstown infrastructure package to bolster local economy

A central Government partnership with Queenstown will help unlock around $300 million of projects in the township and create about 320 direct jobs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced today.

The Government will contribute $85 million to the Queenstown Town Centre ($35m) project and Stage One of the Queenstown Arterials ($50m).

“This stunning town is an internationally renowned tourism attraction and unfortunately the local economy is experiencing a major downturn as a result of COVID-19,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Pre COVID-19, the district’s GDP was about $3 billion and the local economy was growing at more than twice the rate of the national economy.

“The projects we’re announcing support for today will help ensure the construction sector does not suffer the same negative consequences as the tourism sector. This is vitally important because the sector is the second largest contributor to Queenstown Lakes’ economic growth, employing about 4,300 people, or approximately 14 per cent of all jobs.

“These projects came to our attention as being shovel ready and able to redeploy affected workers. They were also submitted through the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) process and were identified as front runners to support the district’s economic and social recovery.

“Our contribution of Stage One of the arterials project will cover the full cost of this first important stage. This project is a strong candidate to be fast tracked under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Bill which would see it able to get under way within 12 months.

“The town centre streetscape project is a $57m project in total, with the Queenstown Lakes District Council contributing $22m. Construction on this project is expected to be under way within three months and take about a year to complete. This work will include street-scaping works, cycle and walkways, and is expected to create about 130 jobs.

These two projects will also unlock the ability to develop a new town centre Public Transport Hub costing $25m and creating about 100 further jobs,

“The council expects the construction phase of this project will take about 18 to 20 months and estimates about 190 jobs will be supported during Stage One.

“Both of these projects help to unlock Project Manawa, a joint investment from Queenstown Lakes District Council and Ngāi Tahu Property, which would see new civil buildings, civic amenities and commercial development at the edge of the arterial road at a cost of approximately $120m.

“In Budget 2020 we set aside $3 billion to support infrastructure projects and today’s funding is the first to be announced from this allocation.

“Many sectors and communities are facing uncertainty in a COVID-19 environment and we want to ensure that Government is helping preserve jobs, create new ones and protecting our economy the best we can,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Notes to editors:

Crown Infrastructure Partners will manage these projects on behalf of the Crown with NZTA leading the procurement and general oversight. 

As a first step in the delivery process, the community will have an opportunity to become more familiar with the plans and will also have an opportunity to respond. This will occur under the Way to Go partnership, a partnership between Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Otago Regional Council. This will occur in coming weeks.

QLDC will continue working with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to deliver the remaining stages of the Arterials project