Extra boost for Southland’s Just Transition

Energy and Resources

Southland’s Just Transition is getting a further boost to help future-proof the region and build its economic resilience, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced today.

“This Government is committed to supporting Southland’s just transition and reducing the region’s reliance on the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point,” Megan Woods said.

“We’re investing in projects identified through the just transition process, aimed at development of new industries and pathways for workers to make the shift to these new opportunities.”

 Today’s $8 million funding package includes support for:

  •  Southland Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster
  • COIN – Southland’s startup and innovation ecosystem
  • Further development of Southland’s aquaculture industry
  • Implementing the region’s new long-term plan, Beyond 2025

“This funding will help create new industries, transition workers and support long-term planning for the region,” Megan Woods said.

Today’s announcement follows Budget 2023’s commitment of $100 million to deliver the Regional Hydrogen Transition, a green hydrogen consumption rebate which will help early adopters to bridge the price gap with fossil fuels and support a just transition to a high wage, low emission economy, starting with Southland.

Speaking at the Murihiku Regeneration Energy and Innovation Wānanga Megan Woods acknowledged the significant work and planning that had gone into the just transition process, which is being delivered in partnership with regional leaders from iwi, local government, business, unions, and the education, community, and primary sectors.

“Southlanders have done a huge amount of work over the last two years to plan for the smelter’s closure. I am thankful for the contributions of everyone who has participated in the just transition process so far.”

The Government committed to a just transition for Southland in July 2020, following the announced closure of the New Zealand’s Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point. Today’s funding package comes amid continued uncertainty around the fate of the smelter.

“My focus has always been on the impact these negotiations have on the community. Southlanders deserve long-term certainty over the future of their region,” Megan Woods said.

More information on Southland’s just transition can be found at southlandjusttransition.co.nz

Note for editors

Up to $100 million ($32.5 million in the first four years) was set aside in Budget 2023 to fund a green hydrogen consumption rebate to bridge the price gap with fossil fuels. 

A just transition is a process that supports specific regions facing significant economic or energy shocks to transition to a more resilient future. 

In July 2020, the owners of the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS) announced they intended to close the facility. As a result, the Government committed to support Southland through a just transition process to build the region’s economic, environmental, and social resilience. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has delivered this work alongside regional leaders.

The Regional Hydrogen Transition supports the forthcoming interim Hydrogen Roadmap, which will outline the Government’s thinking on the role hydrogen could play in our wider energy transition to net zero 2050 and the actions Government is considering to support safe and timely uptake. We expect to consult on the interim Hydrogen Roadmap later this year.