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Kaikoura, MacKenzie, Mt Cook prioritised for tourism funding

Resort staff hours had been slashed, some people were struggling to pay rent and support their...
Places in the South Island were harder hit by the loss of international tourists than other regions. Photo: Getty Images
About $13 million of tourism infrastructure funding is on the way, with Kaikoura, MacKenzie - Aoraki Mt Cook, Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland and South Westland identified as priority areas for grants.

The fund, which provides up to $25 million per annum, was established by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in 2017 to support communities under pressure from tourism growth and help them develop tourism-related infrastructure, for example, public toilets and showers, carparks and footpaths, waste disposal and water treatment facilities and freedom camping sites.

It last allocated money pre-Covid, in November, 2019.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the fifth funding round, with updated criteria for projects to be prioritised, would open next month.

‘‘It will now better reflect the reality that jobs and businesses in some regions, particularly the South Island, are harder hit by the loss of international tourists than other regions.

“I have already identified that five regions face greater uncertainty given their reliance on overseas visitors.

‘‘For this reason, applications from Kaikoura, MacKenzie - Aoraki Mt Cook, Queenstown Lakes, Fiordland and South Westland districts will be prioritised.’’

However, Mr Nash said all councils would be eligible to apply if they lacked adequate revenue sources to cater for visitors and community groups with council backing could also apply.

Projects would provide local employment as tourism towns worked to diversify their economies and the new infrastructure would also ensure the quality of visitor experience was improved for when tourists returned.

Mr Nash said the final size of the funding pool was still to be determined, but it was expected to be about $13m.

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