$100 million investment to support Māori landowners and drive regional growth

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $100 million to help unlock the economic potential of whenua Māori and build prosperity in our regions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced today.

“An integral part of any inclusive and successful regional economic development strategy lies with supporting Māori landowners to create new opportunities that will lift incomes and the wellbeing of our regions,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“Access to capital remains a challenge for Māori landowners as the special status of their land means commercial banks are less willing to lend to them. I’m pleased that through the PGF, we’re in a unique position to be able to support these landowners.

“Funding will enable Māori to access the capital required to progress projects which are investment-ready and will ultimately support moves towards higher-value land use.”

Research released in 2013 found about 80 per cent of Māori freehold land was underutilised or unproductive. Modelling of the impact of bringing this land into primary sector production and increasing its productivity showed significant economic benefits, including jobs.

“As both custodians and investors, Māori have a large and growing asset base across regional New Zealand based on traditional land-holdings and Treaty settlements.

“I’m proud we’re able to make this announcement today, which is a vital step in creating greater prosperity around New Zealand,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and other ministers joined the Prime Minister at Otamatea Marae in the Kaipara district to make the announcement. 

“Supporting Māori economic development is a key focus of the Provincial Growth Fund.  That’s because lifting the productivity of Māori land will have enormous benefits for regional economies and it is an opportunity we cannot afford to ignore,” Shane Jones said.

“There is already significant work across government led by Te Puni Kōkiri to support Māori landowners to build governance and management capability within trusts, and completing initial feasibility studies for the development of Māori land.

“To date, the biggest barrier to land development has been access to financial capital.  This investment from the PGF helps overcome that barrier and ensures there is now end-to-end support for Māori landowners – from capability building, feasibility work, and the completion of capital projects.

“For long-term, sustainable and inclusive regional economic growth we need to ensure Māori landowners are well supported to develop their assets and I’m pleased the PGF is well placed to kick-start this work,” Shane Jones said.

Notes to editors:

  • The PGF Whenua Māori allocation will be used to provide financial capital (via loans and some grants) for investment-ready projects that will lift the productivity of Māori-owned land. The PGF investment aims to allow Maori land owners to realise greater economic benefits from more productive land blocks.
  • Māori landowners can apply for funding through the PGF website: https://www.growregions.govt.nz/get-funding/how-to-apply/. Applications will be assessed through existing Provincial Growth Fund processes.  As the adminitstrator of the fund, the Provincial Development Unit will work with the Ministry for Primary Industries and Te Puni Kōkiri to support Māori land owners develop business-ready PGF applications.