The effects of Covid-19 will be felt for many years to come. It has changed our social and economic landscape in ways that we're still trying to understand.
As part of our restart strategy after Covid-19, Whangarei District Council has been applying to a wide range of Government funding opportunities. These funds have been set up specifically to help communities, districts and regions across New Zealand get back on their feet and create employment. Each council will work closely with hapu, iwi and other communities as part of project planning.
Some are new funds, such as the Worker Redeployment Package, and some have been drawn from other, unused or reallocated funding pools, such as the Provincial Growth Fund. Here I will explain what each of these different funds are, where Whangarei District Council has placed bids, and some positive results to date.
Tourism Infrastructure Fund: This is an existing fund, which usually supports a 50:50 investment model for infrastructure to support tourism. We have already been successful with this fund and are pleased to have received funding to support projects such as the Bascule Carpark (near Te Matau a Pohe bridge), Tamaterau Beach carpark, Quarry Gardens carpark upgrade, Town Basin Bus and Visitor Facilities upgrades, Abbey Caves carpark and public toilets, and restoring the mauri of Matapōuri.
Provincial Growth Fund: This existing fund invests $1 billion a year to support regional growth and development. Various Whangarei projects have had successful bids to this fund, including Hihiaua Cultural Centre stage 1, Camera Obscura, Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Maori Art Gallery, and a feasibility report for the Riverside Hotel and Entertainment Complex.
Provincial Growth Fund V2: A new Covid-19 response fund where around $700 million has been reclaimed from unused Provincial Growth Funds awarded around New Zealand. This fund looks at funding quick-start projects to keep people in work, particularly town halls, marae, community buildings and facilities. We have submitted an application totalling $14m for numerous projects and are waiting for the results of our bid.
Worker Redeployment Package: Another 'new' Covid-19 response fund, originally to support forestry workers who were about to be laid off. Now it is a more general job-seeker work programme fund. We were pleased to receive $2.8m for extra roadside vegetation clearance, parks vegetation clearance and stage 1 of the Tikipunga Cycle Trail.
Crown Infrastructure Partners: A new fund of $3b for spending on shovel-ready infrastructure projects. 'Shovel ready' means any project that has already gone through the approvals process and is ready to break ground within 12 months. This fund is part of Government infrastructure spending, which has been brought forward to help minimise job losses as a result of Covid-19. Our council has nine applications with a total value of $715.6m before Cabinet for a decision, including revitalisation of Whangarei city centre and waterfront, a new airport, transport projects, and water and wastewater projects.
We are working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Far North District Council, Kaipara District Council, Northland Regional Council, Northland Inc and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency to ensure we are aligned with the needs of our entire region, bringing employment, pride and tangible outcomes to our people and communities.