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Transport Choices

No matter where we live, we should be able to move easily and safely around our townships in ways that help us to protect our safety, our health and our climate. Council has received provisional funding approval from New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) for nearly 5.4 km of new walking and cycling paths in Otāne and 470 m of new footpaths in Pōrangahau, allowing a safer way for children to walk and cycle to school.

Safer walking and cycling in Otāne and Pōrangahau

Update 15 December 2023: Funding for new footpaths in Otāne and Pōrangahau could be lost

A project to construct much-needed new footpaths in Otāne and Pōrangahau is currently on hold as Waka Kotahi - NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) awaits approval from the new Government to release funding. 

In December 2022, Council was selected by NZTA to receive up to $4 million for the construction of new walking and cycling paths for Otāne and Porangahau as part of the Transport Choices programme. This funding would address long-held community safety concerns by enabling Council to deliver nearly 6km of paths in Otāne and 470m of paths, the only safe walking connection to the local school, in Pōrangahau. 

NZTA have advised that all future funding commitments through the Climate Emergency Response Fund have been put on hold, including Transport Choices projects, with future investment decisions resting directly with the new Ministers of Transport and Finance.   

The pause in the funding is deeply frustrating for residents of Otāne and Pōrangahau. Despite years of local feedback, advocacy and hard work, both communities may lose this opportunity to access safer walking and cycling options in their neighbourhood.

“I share the incredible frustration of our communities in Otāne and Pōrangahau that this central government funding has been paused,” says Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker.  “Not only would these footpaths meet long-held community aspirations for safer streets for everyone, and especially tamariki, it is just common sense to deliver an asset that will support communities for decades to come”. 

Council planned to commence work in early June 2024. Before the funding pause, community engagement for the two towns was underway, design options were nearly complete, and local contractors were being sourced. If the funding is withdrawn, new footpaths on this new footpaths on this scale could never be achieved for these communities, simply due to affordability. 

“Amongst all of the funding priorities for this new Government, it just makes sense to continue funding safer ways to get to school, work and play for communities like ours,” says Mayor Walker.  “We remain optimistic that Ministers will come to share our view once they have a chance to examine more closely the long-term benefits of investing in safer, healthier transport options.”

We will update this page as soon as we hear more from the new Government.


We need to move towards a climate-resilient future for the benefit of all New Zealanders and generations to come. Transport Choices is important because road transport makes up around 38% of New Zealand’s carbon dioxide emissions. New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi (NZTA) is working with councils to quickly provide people with more transport options, making it easier to travel in ways that are good for the environment while making it safer for people to walk and cycle when they want to.

In December 2022, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council was selected by NZTA as one of 46 councils across Aotearoa New Zealand to receive funding to improve the safety and connectivity of local streets.

For Central Hawke’s Bay, this initiative will provide funding for new footpaths and cycling options in two townships where none previously existed:

  • An upgrade of intersection crossings and approximately 5.4 kilometres of new walking and cycle paths in Otāne.
  • 470 metres of new footpaths along Keppel Street in Pōrangahau to allow children to walk or cycle to the local school.

The above proposed walking and cycle pathways remain subject to government funding, with all future funding commitments affecting the Transport Choices programme and other projects through the Climate Emergency Response Fund put on hold by NZTA as of November 2023 while it waits for clear direction from the new government and relevant ministers on its transport investment priorities.

As Transport Choices is a directly Crown-funded programme, it is very different to those projects funded through the regular National Land Transport Programme processes and therefore requires direct reporting to ministers and investment decisions rest with the Minister of Transport and Minister of Finance.

Last updated 12 December 2023

Transport Choices, like Streets for People, is a national programme for safer, healthier streets, fully funded by New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi.

This project has been a long time in the making; our Otāne and Pōrangahau communities have long been calling for safer active transport options but it would have been unaffordable if these improvements were funded through rates alone. 

Through the New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Transport Choices programme, we are at last able to make walking and cycling safer and healthier in these communities.


Cyclone Gabrielle followed the wettest winter on record, and we're seeing first-hand the impact of our changing climate. Transport Choices funding will help us provide the option to make small, healthy changes to reduce transport emissions.

Both the Streets for People and Transport Choices projects are New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi-funded initiatives that aim to help councils create safer, healthier streets for people to get around, making it easier to choose to cycle or walk short journeys and encouraging some of the changes we can make to reduce emissions.


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