Prime Minister Bill English was in Whanganui on Saturday and, as the Chronicle revealed on Saturday morning, he had his chequebook with him.

Mr English got a warm welcome on the first stop of his flying visit, at Snell Pavilion at the Whanganui velodrome.

There he announced $6 million of government funding for the velodrome redevelopment, an ambitious $12.5 million project that will see the facility get a much-needed roof and other upgrades so it can serve the wider central region and cater for a growing number of sports and other community activities.

Mr English paid tribute to the hard work already done by local members of the Central Regional Velodrome Development Trust which has been working behind the scenes for the past few years.

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The Prime Minister also acknowledged the collaboration between the various councils which had helped move the project forward.

Mr English also braved the rain for a walkabout at the River Traders market before heading off to South Taranaki and other parts of the hotly-contested Whanganui electorate where Harete Hipango is bidding to hold the seat for National in the face of competition from Labour's Steph Lewis.