Work to improve water quality in Mangonui Harbour and an upgrade of the town's waterfront are the latest winners from the Government's Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones announced the grants totalling $6.5m on Saturday.

Popular holiday spots Mangonui and Doubtless Bay were suffering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting loss of international tourists, Jones said.

A sum of $5m would be allocated to the NZ Transport Agency to address water quality problems at the head of Mangonui Harbour, where a causeway built for State Highway 10 had reduced tidal flows into the estuary beyond.

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As a result the estuary was now choked with mangroves and sediment, to the detriment of wildlife and water quality in the catchment, Jones said.

NZTA would investigate the best ways to restore the catchment, including building a series of culverts. Dredging and pest plant removal would also be considered.

An aerial view of the upper reaches of Mangonui Harbour shows silting caused by the SH10 causeway. Photo / Google Earth
An aerial view of the upper reaches of Mangonui Harbour shows silting caused by the SH10 causeway. Photo / Google Earth

A further $1.5m would go to a Far North District Council project to improve the Mangonui waterfront.

It would include constructing a walkway for the full length of the waterfront, more parking for cars and commercial vehicles to make the area safer, extended wharf areas, extra pontoons for fishing and charter vessels, and 4km of walking and cycling tracks around the harbour.

Jones said the Mangonui waterfront was increasingly busy with little to separate pedestrians, cyclists, recreational and commercial users.

A panoramic view of Mangonui with the boardwalk front and centre. Photo / Phillip Biddick.
A panoramic view of Mangonui with the boardwalk front and centre. Photo / Phillip Biddick.

Dedicated parking for trucks collecting fish, and better footpaths and lighting for pedestrians and cyclists would make the waterfront safer and more welcoming, Jones said.

"Improving this infrastructure will add to the area's attraction to visitors and help the local economy. The work on the culverts and the waterfront will also provide jobs during construction, which will also put money in the pockets of those who live in the region."

The money will come from the $3 billion set aside in the response und.

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On Saturday the Advocate revealed Northland has so far received more than $550m from the Provincial Growth Fund and the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund with the creation of more than 1300 jobs - more than double the $236.5m received by the next region, East Coast/Tairawhiti.