About 60 jobs will be created on the Kapiti Coast by a $7 million landscaping programme alongside the Kapiti Expressway.
The four-year project will involve about 1.5 million almost exclusively indigenous, locally sourced plants on about 140 hectares beside the section of expressway between McKays Crossing and Peka Peka.
NZTA Wellington highways manager Rod James said it was one of the largest planting projects the lower North Island had seen.
"The scale of landscaping and planting is huge.
"This four-year programme of works will provide a massive boost to the local economy."
The agency has awarded the contract to Auckland's Natural Habitats, which provided landscaping for projects such as the Manukau Harbour Crossing and the Ngaruawahia Expressway. It will set up in Kapiti with a project manager and two supervisors, and hire about 60 local staff.
NZTA expected construction of the expressway to create about 1000 jobs, which would "solidify a good skills base in Kapiti and build up local expertise and resources ahead of Transmission Gully and the Peka Peka to Otaki expressway".
Kapiti Mayor Ross Church said the award of the planting contract was great news. "Sometimes little companies are not big enough on their own to be awarded these tenders, but having only two or three of their own people and 60 local people is absolutely fantastic."
Natural Habitats chief rake Graham Cleary said it was exciting to be part of "New Zealand's largest civil landscaping project ever". The company wanted to ensure local iwi derived as much benefit as possible by inducting and training rangatahi, or young people, into the project teams to learn on-the-job skills and gain credits for NZQA qualifications.
- The Dominion Post
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