Plans are underway for a brand new state-of-the-art hub for Whanganui’s justice and social agencies, following confirmation the ageing Whanganui Central Police Station is to be replaced.
Police Minister Stuart Nash has announced $25 million in new infrastructure spending to improve facilities for the wider community, and for staff who work in a number of justice and social services.
“The Whanganui Police Hub project has won government support through a new infrastructure fund,” Mr Nash said. “The project is one of the ‘shovel-ready’ proposals put forward by local councils, iwi, and community groups in the wake of COVID.”
“The Police station replacement will play a big part in the economic recovery of the region. It is just the sort of project that our COVID Response and Recovery Fund is designed for. It meets both social and economic objectives as we recover from the impact of COVID19.
“The project is expected to directly generate around 100 jobs and support hundreds of others. Local small businesses and contractors in the construction industry and services sector now have greater certainty about the pipeline of projects in the region.
“The existing Whanganui Central Police Station is something of a ‘period piece’ and is no longer fit for purpose. It was built more than fifty years ago and it is completely outdated.
“The building fabric, services, infrastructure and work environment are all beyond their useful life. The layout and functionality does not meet future policing requirements nor provide a safe and secure place for Police staff to deliver services to the public.
“Police have been working for some time in partnership with local iwi, the District Council, other government agencies like the Ministry of Justice, and community groups to plan the ideal facilities for the region.
“Options include redeveloping the existing site, or co-locating and integrating multiple agencies on a possible new site, to create a wider precinct for social and justice services in Whanganui.
“The new funding now allows Police and other agencies to accelerate the planning for this project. Next steps would involve a decision on a site, design works, procurement and tendering, and construction. It’s possible the first ‘sod-turning’ could be in 2021.
“The new Whanganui Police hub will create significant social and economic benefits for the region. In partnership with the communities of Whanganui, this project has been a high priority for local Police,” Mr Nash said.
All approvals are in principle and subject to contract negotiations. Investment values are also subject to change.
The $50 billion COVID Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) set out in Budget 2020 earmarked $3 billion for infrastructure projects. Ministers established the Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG) to work with local councils and businesses to identify a pipeline of projects to support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild. Cabinet then decided the key sectors and regional breakdown of funds with more than 150 projects worth $2.6 billion being approved in principal.
These sectors are (excluding a $400m contingency)
- Housing and urban development: $464m
- Environmental: $460m
- Community and social development: $670m
- Transport (cycleways, walkways, ports and roads): $708m
The approximate regional breakdown is:
- Auckland region $500 million
- Bay of Plenty Region $170 million
- Canterbury $300 million
- East Coast $106 million
- Hawke’s Bay $130 million
- Manawatu/Whanganui $140 million
- Northland $150 million
- Otago $260 million
- Southland $90 million
- Taranaki $85 million
- Top of the South $85 million
- Waikato $150 million
- Wellington region $185 million
- West Coast $90 million
The IRG investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. They are in addition to the $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme and existing Provincial Growth Fund investments.