Marlborough Mayor John Leggett has welcomed today’s announcement by Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau of funding for the Marlborough Research Centre, the Picton-to-Kaikoura Whale Trail, flood prevention work on the Wairau River and a Ngāti Kuia initiative to process kānuka.
“This is a great day for Marlborough, Kaikōura and the Top of the South.”
“Marlborough District Council has strongly supported The Whale Trail concept since its inception after the Kaikōura earthquake in 2016. We funded a share of the early feasibility work and committed $2m to project funding in 2018, as well as on-going operating budget.”
“The Whale Trail will help regenerate the economy of the East Coast of Marlborough and Kaikōura, an area which has suffered from the impacts of the 2013 and 2016 earthquakes. The rural communities of Seddon, Ward, Kekerengu and Clarence will get a huge boost of confidence from this announcement today.”
“All the projects funded today have been initiated from the ground up here in Marlborough - it’s fantastic to see the Government supporting local initiatives.”
“We know that our economic recovery is going to take all of us working together. It’s never been more important for central Government to invest at the local level – this funding will provide a foundation for recovery and the base for new economic growth.”
The Mayor said the Council is responsible for managing the extensive network of flood protection infrastructure across the Wairau Plain.
“The $3m funding announced today, supported by $1m from the Council, will go towards major Wairau River edge protection works upstream from Renwick and beside the Southern Valleys Irrigation Scheme intake, which supplies water to a large area of vineyards along the south bank of the Wairau.”
“The work will create 15 jobs and help reduce the risk of flooding for much of the lower floodplain, including many hectares of vineyard, parts of Renwick and also Blenheim. This funding enables the work to be brought forward so we can begin much sooner than planned.”
In addition, the announcement today of approval of a $3.79m interest-free suspensory loan to Marlborough Research Centre is a 50% contribution to the cost of buildings for the New Zealand Wine Centre – Te Whare ā Waina Aotearoa.
“The Council is a funder of the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC), a non-profit organisation operating from two campuses in Blenheim,” Mayor Leggett says.
“The MRC and Council already have strong links and a common cause in promoting the economic development of the region. Council provides an annual grant to MRC and it is in Council’s interest to ensure that MRC achieves the maximum economic benefit it can for the region.”
The projects announced this morning by Fletcher Tabuteau are funded by a combination of loans and investments from the Provincial Growth Fund and the Infrastructure Reference Group's shovel ready projects.