Whangarei tourism PGF announcements
PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
48 Riverside Drive,
15 March 2019
Thank you for all being here today at the town basin. It’s great to see so many local people here.
I’m proud to be here today announcing the Government’s investment, through the Provincial Growth Fund, in two key Whangarei tourism projects.
Both of these projects have been driven by local people, and have a lot of local support.
Tourism remains New Zealand's largest export earner and directly employs 7.5 per cent of our workforce. International and domestic tourism are both increasing and contribute $12.9 billion to GDP annually.
A big draw card for tourists obviously lies within our regions – so we need to take advantage of the opportunities tourism presents.
Sub-tropical Whangarei is a draw card for tourists for a reason. Whangarei is home to the Whangarei Falls, and volcanic Mount Parihaka which features a war memorial and the remains of Māori villages.
By the Hatea River, the Town Basin is a boat-dotted marina with restaurants, shops and galleries. Nearby, Claphams Clock Museum displays eclectic vintage clocks.
When tourists leave Whangarei, they know they have experienced something special.
By further improving and developing tourist attractions we’re making regions like Northland an even more attractive place to visit.
Our regions will start to benefit from the growth that they have missed out on in the past.
The whole of Northland has experienced chronic underfunding which has prevented the region from reaching its full potential.
Tourism is an important and developing sector in Northland, but some existing facilities are aging and unsuitable to fully benefit from this growth.
That’s why the Government has setup the Provincial Growth Fund.
Through the PGF we are investing in the regions directly, backing communities and ensuring all Kiwis can share in the benefits of a strong economy.
The PGF can help improve infrastructure, upgrade tourism facilities and grow businesses that cater to tourists.
The PGF prioritises investment into high-value tourism as well as initiatives that grow the tourism market throughout the year and across more regions.
By improving tourism infrastructure, we make our natural attractions easier to get to and get around.
These improvements will mean more people can visit, stay longer and spend more.
It’s a win-win for New Zealand to provide a better experience for those coming to New Zealand and create sustainable jobs for Kiwis in a thriving growth industry.
The current and future demand in the tourism sector is projected to continue to grow in Whangarei, and there’s a real need to help improve the infrastructure and encourage initiatives that cater to tourists.
Today we’re announcing over $2 million in funding for tourism initiatives that will further enhance Whangarei as a tourism destination.
Each initiative will help attract and retain visitors in the region for longer.
The projects announced today add to the mix of existing and planned attractions in the Town Basin area and Hatea Loop Walkway, such as the Hundertwasser Art Centre and the Clock Tower Museum.
Reports have shown that there’s a real need for additional high quality hotel accommodation, and theatre and conferencing facilities.
The PGF will grant $1.3 million towards the completion of a feasibility study and business case for the Riverside Hotel and Entertainment Precinct being developed.
The current proposal could deliver three to four star hotels, apartments, a marina development, conference and theatre facilities, and retail opportunities.
It’s estimated that approximately $7.75 million per annum will be injected into the Whangarei economy and provide upwards of 100 jobs if the project goes ahead.
The business case will help decide whether the plan is feasible for the area.
Funding of $750,000 will help build a full scale version of an operational rolling ball clock built adjacent to the Clapham’s National Clock Museum.
This project grew from a group of local volunteers who built a small scale prototype for the rolling ball.
The plan is to have the rolling ball housed in a purpose-built enclosure on a Whangarei District Council owned site, adjacent to the Clapham’s Clock.
Our regions remain a big draw card for tourists so we need to invest to take full advantage of tourism opportunities. With today’s announcement the Provincial Growth Fund is set to invest over $101 million to support New Zealand’s tourism sector.
By 2024 more than five million people are expected to visit New Zealand annually, and I know that Whangarei will be ready to benefit from that.