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The Government has announced 13 grants totalling $970,000 for the upkeep and improvement of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
The grants are the first round from a pool of $8 million over four years announced in this year's Budget. The grants are for maintaining and enhancing the network regional trails from Northland to Southland that make up the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
The money would ensure the trails "continue to generate economic benefit to regional communities" Prime Minister John Key said today in his capacity as Tourism Minister.
Mr Key said the network of trails, established with an allocation of $50 million in 2009, attracted "high-value visitors and helps New Zealand stay on the international map as a top tourist destination".
"A recent report showed the trails are going from strength to strength. Last summer the New Zealand Cycle Trail experienced a 56 per cent average growth rate, with an estimated 97,000 trail users for the month of January 2014 alone."
The contestable funding announced this year is to assist with maintaining the quality of the trails "should they experience significant weather damage or need major changes," said Mr Key.
The biggest grant announced today was $212,500 to Tasman District Council. The largest grant in the North Island was $130,000 to the Wanganui District Council.
The next funding round will be in February 2015.
By Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald