Funding to help drive Southland's economic growth

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing in air connectivity, water storage, business growth and economic development in Southland, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

The four projects announced are:

  • Invercargill Airport air cargo and terminal development (Invercargill Airport Limited) – $500,000
  • Establishment of a business start-up investment network (Invest South) – $550,000
  • Oreti managed aquifer recharge pilot (Oreti MAR Limited) – $593,481
  • Stewart Island / Rakiura economic development plan (Southland District Council) – $100,000

The PGF will help Invercargill Airport make necessary upgrades to prepare it for the first direct jet connection between Auckland and Invercargill since 1995.

“Through this investment, we’re preparing Invercargill for the growth generated by direct flights to and from Auckland. It will make it easier for Southland-based industries, especially aquaculture, to export their perishable goods to key domestic and international markets,” Shane Jones said.

Young businesses in Southland are also set to benefit from PGF funding to establish the COIN South business start-up investment network.

“Enabling Southland to retain and grow young businesses is a no-brainer. These businesses could otherwise leave the region in search of capital. This investment network will help to drive innovation, business growth and job creation in the region.

The Oreti Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) testing project will explore options to improve the management of groundwater storage.

“Water storage is a major issue in Southland, with water shortages being a key barrier to growth. This investment has the potential to bring environmental, social and economic benefits to the region and help to grow a sustainable primary sector.”

The PGF is also funding the Stewart Island Future Opportunities project to assist in the planning of its economic future.

“Stewart Island / Rakiura only has around 400 residents, but attracts close to 40,000 visitors per year. The PGF is proud to be helping Rakiura leverage its economic opportunities so that it continues to punch above its weight.

“These projects have been selected for funding because we know that they will help drive Southland’s economic growth. These projects will help turn the region’s strategy into action,” Shane Jones said.

Further information on PGF funded projects:

Invercargill Airport Air Cargo and Terminal Development
The new Auckland to Invercargill jet service begins in August this year.
The funding will help IAL to deliver:

  • Facilities to manage increased freight volumes and specialised loading
  • Introduction of security screening for baggage and passengers
  • Hardstands suitable for A320 and A321 aircraft
  • Security designation changes including enhanced physical security arrangements
  • Increased emergency response support

The upgrade will require a range of jobs, including electrical, fibre, geotechnical engineering, design and fabrication work. IAL are forecast to increase their full-time equivalent jobs from nine to 16 during the 12-month trial of scheduled jet services from Auckland.

Establishment of a Business Start-up Investment Network (COIN South)
PGF funding will allow the establishment of COIN South, which will equip Southland entrepreneurs with the skills, networks and funding they need to grow sustainable and successful high growth businesses in the region. Funding will go towards the establishment of physical facilities and human capability to pair early stage and fast growing companies with investors.

COIN South will focus on retaining and growing early stage businesses that would have otherwise likely relocated in order to attract capital. The investment network that COIN will catalyse has the potential to result in business growth and job creation in the region.

Oreti Managed Aquifer Recharge Pilot

The MAR will use a set of physical tools designed to capture available clean water and use this water to replenish groundwater resources.  The MAR tools improve the management of groundwater resources, particularly where they are under pressure from usage or becoming degraded due to changing climate patterns.

The PGF has previously approved funding for the Makauri Managed Aquifer Recharge project in Gisborne.

Stewart Island / Rakiura Economic Development Plan
Known as the Stewart Island Future Opportunities project, this plan will help Stewart Island / Rakiura prepare for its economic future.
While Stewart Island only has around 400 residents, visitor numbers are close to 40,000 per year. This project will leverage on tourism opportunities and contribute to the Southland Regional Development Plan’s goal of doubling tourism revenue to $1 billion by 2025.

Note to editors:

Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.