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Councils And Tourism Industry Back `Great Rides' Project

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, July 28 NZPA - The tourism industry, local councils and bikers are backing the new national cycleway after the announcement that work will start this summer on the first seven "Great Rides" around the country.

The seven tracks will cost $9 million of the total $50m allocated for the project, which aims to eventually create a cycleway the length of the country.

Local Government NZ president Lawrence Yule said 21 councils had worked alongside the Government to identify the first seven separate projects.

"It will create local jobs and a platform for economic development," Mr Yule said.

Southland councils issued a joint statement with eight mayors praising the projects while BikeNZ said there was a great future for cycle tourism.

"The Government has provided us a great starting platform, one that BikeNZ is keen to build on," it said.

Prime Minister John Key, who also holds the tourism portfolio, announced the first seven tracks yesterday.

He said they would be a magnet for tourists with the power to rejuvenate small towns.

Labour scorned the number of jobs the seven projects would create, estimated at around 280.

Party leader Phil Goff said Mr Key had promised 3700 workers for the cycleway and the announcement was "a major let down" when 1300 people were signing up for the dole each week.

Mr Key wasn't rattled.

"By the time you look at all the jobs that will be created on the back of construction, long term maintenance and surrounding businesses that support the cycleway there will be thousands," he said.

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