Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues her tour of the region today with engagements in Taupō.
She has officially opened and walked about 1km of the newly-redone Great Lake Walkway with Taupō mayor David Trewavas, viewed erosion works along the lakefront and read some of the stories of the area and their connection to local iwi Ngāti Tuwharetoa.
They were accompanied by Waiariki MP Tamati Coffey and Labour Taupō candidate Ala' Al-Bustanji.
Trewavas used the occasion to call for the shared path to be extended 50km south along Lake Taupō to Tūrangi, a project which is a long-held dream of the Taupo District Council and could bring extensive economic benefits but which faces significant cost and land access issues.
Ardern has also taken a walk through of the Taupō Town Centre Transformation project, joined by Minister Megan Woods. Work has begun on the redevelopment at the Ruapehu and Tuwharetoa St intersection.
The project received $20.6 million from the Infrastructure Reference Group fund for shovel ready projects and is expected to create 92 jobs.
Programme delivery manager Ian Gray said it was important for the Prime Minister to see the "significant progress" already under way as a result of government support.
"We are one of the first funded projects, if not the first, to get underway," he said.
"It was really valuable for our local workers to be able to see the connection between their work and the significant investment that the government has made here."
Ardern is also expected to visit the Mokai Power Station.
Taupō mayor David Trewavas said the tour was a great way to highlight what the government investment means for the district.
"The [Taupō Town Centre Transformation project] has been one that has been on the cards for many years, but without the $20.6 million investment it would have been very hard in this current climate to get this off the ground," he said.
"It is a huge game-changer for us and will create real value for locals – not only through local jobs, but through the end result which will see our CBD transformed into people-friendly spaces that also enhances our connection to our best natural assets like the lake and the Domain."
Yesterday Ardern was in Whakatane where she met with first responders to the December 9 Whakaari/White Island eruption and visited a Covid-19 response centre.
On Tuesday she announced big plans to support small business while in Tauranga and a proposal to introduce Matariki as a national public holiday while in Rotorua on Monday.