The criteria for applying for finance from the $100m Tourism Infrastructure Fund is under review and could become less restrictive for local councils.
Applications open today for round two of the TIF, which distributes $25m a year over four years to co-fund with local councils and community groups the development of tourism infrastructure such as toilets, carparks and freedom camping facilities.
However, the minister of tourism, Kelvin Davis, said he was considering changes to the criteria of the fund for future rounds.
“Following feedback I received from mayors at a recent meeting on freedom camping, I will also be reviewing the fund’s criteria so that they better meet the needs of councils,” said Davis.
“Some mayors considered the fund’s criteria too restrictive, for example when priority is given to councils which are at their lending limit. There are a range of things we can look at but any changes may have to go through Cabinet so will likely be implemented from round three or four.”
Davis said the second deployment of the fund would see a continued focus on communities in immediate need where local facilities are under strain because of visitor demand.
“The fund supports communities facing pressure from tourism growth and in need of assistance – areas with high visitor numbers but small ratepayer bases, for example,” said Davis.
“I would also like to see more proposals that use innovative technological solutions to reduce or cover the cost of infrastructure up-keep, which helps take the burden off ratepayers.”
Examples could include app-based user charges, with revenue used for maintenance, or ‘smart’ solar-powered rubbish compactors that alert the rubbish collection company when the compactors are full.
The second round of the TIF totals $10.7m. Last December, $14.2m was awarded to some local councils for 30 visitor-related infrastructure projects and four feasibility studies in the first deployment of the fund.
Applications for round two closes on 14 May 2018. For more information for round two of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund visit: http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/tourism/tourism-infrastructure-fund.