The Prime Minister has this afternoon announced an $85 million investment into Queenstown which she says will help unlock about $300 million of projects in the township and create some 320 jobs.
The investment is made up of $35 million which will go towards an upgrade to the town centre and $50 million which is earmarked for phase one of developing arterial routes around the town centre project.
This stunning town is an internationally renowned tourism attraction and unfortunately the local economy is experiencing a major downturn as a result of Covid-19,” Jacinda Ardern said.
She said before the Covid-19 pandemic, the district’s GDP was about $3 billion and the local economy was growing at more than twice the rate of the national economy.
“The projects we’re announcing support for today will help ensure the construction sector does not suffer the same negative consequences as the tourism sector. This is vitally important because the sector is the second largest contributor to Queenstown Lakes’ economic growth, employing about 4,300 people, or approximately 14 per cent of all jobs.
“These projects came to our attention as being shovel ready and able to redeploy affected workers. They were also submitted through the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) process and were identified as front runners to support the district’s economic and social recovery.
“Our contribution of Stage One of the arterials project will cover the full cost of this first important stage. This project is a strong candidate to be fast tracked under the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Bill which would see it able to get under way within 12 months,” Ms Ardern said.
The town centre streetscape project is a $57 million project in total, with the Queenstown Lakes District Council contributing $22 million.
Construction on the project is expected to be under way within three months and take about a year to complete. This work will include street-scaping works, cycle and walkways, and is expected to create about 130 jobs.
The two projects will also unlock the ability to develop a new town centre Public Transport Hub costing $25 million and creating about 100 further jobs.
“The council expects the construction phase of this project will take about 18 to 20 months and estimates about 190 jobs will be supported during Stage One.
“In Budget 2020 we set aside $3 billion to support infrastructure projects and today’s funding is the first to be announced from this allocation.
“Many sectors and communities are facing uncertainty in a Covid-19 environment and we want to ensure that Government is helping preserve jobs, create new ones and protecting our economy the best we can,” Ms Ardern said.