Work to start on eight new cycle trails

Work will start this summer on eight new cycle trails which will cover 1700km when they are completed, the Ministry of Tourism announced today.

The nationwide cycleway project was initiated by Prime Minister John Key who wants to boost tourism, create jobs and revitalise small communities.

Programme manager John Dunne said the Government had allocated $18.85 million for the eight new trails which would bring "huge benefits" for the communities involved.

The communities are putting up $16 million for the projects.

"The new trails will be included in a series of `Great Rides' that will take cyclists through some of New Zealand's most iconic and picturesque country," he said.

The new trails are in Opotiki/Gisborne, Taupo, Hawke's Bay, Nelson/Tasman, Westport, Mount Cook/Waitaki, Queenstown and Clutha.

Associate Tourism Minister Jonathan Coleman said the trails would "showcase the very best that New Zealand has to offer in terms of our landscapes, culture and communities".

"They will be a drawcard for both international and domestic visitors, and add a further dimension to our vibrant tourism sector."

The Green Party, a strong supporter of the cycleway project, said communities were pulling together to deliver on their promise of partnership.

"This is being delivered by a combination of local council, iwi, community groups, businesses and kids from Ruapehu College and Ohakune Primary School," MP Kevin Hague said.

"These eight trails will take us a few steps closer to the goal of an integrated network of cycle trails."

- NZPA

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