Government backs Northland innovation and enterprise park

  • Hon Shane Jones
Regional Economic Development

The Provincial Growth Fund is providing up to $19.5 million to boost innovative primary sector businesses and create training and job opportunities for Northland locals through the construction of an innovation and enterprise park at Ngawha, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment will go towards finalising pre-construction work at the site near Kaikohe and building infrastructure and services such as earthworks, roading, water and power.

“The construction of the Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park will be a major infrastructure project for the region which could change the lives of many locals in an area of high economic deprivation,” Shane Jones says.

When stage 1 of the park is up and running it is expected to provide around 250 new full-time jobs and 50 training roles a year. These numbers are expected to grow to around 500 as further development takes place.

The park, to be located on a 204ha former dairy farm, aims to bring together complementary businesses which can scale up manufacturing high-value primary sector products and invest in research and development.

“Like-minded, innovative businesses will create economies of scale through co-location at the park and benefit from new infrastructure and low energy costs. There are plans for the park to include an innovation and education centre to train and develop locals, and on-site labs,” Shane Jones said.

Building could start on the park this year, creating around 150 construction jobs.

“This build will get money circulating in this region. Over the long-term the facility will attract businesses and jobs and add to the social and economic wellbeing of local people,” Shane Jones said. 

Potential park tenants include businesses in food manufacturing, bioenergy, horticulture, research and development, and trades training for the production of low-cost, pre-fabricated timber social housing.

“This park, which has the backing of stakeholders including local iwi will be a game-changer for Kaikohe which has struggled to attract private investment in the past due to its relative distance, lack of infrastructure and trained workforce,” Shane Jones said.

Far North Holdings, the commercial arm of the Far North District Council, will receive the funding. The PGF provided $897,000 to Far North Holdings towards a business case for the park in 2019.

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.