PGF investing to grow Eastern Bay of Plenty economy

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support several projects in Eastern Bay of Plenty to boost the economic potential of the region and unlock new opportunities for local people. 

Minister Jones was in Ōpōtiki today to make the announcement, which will benefit from a large investment in its local aquaculture industry.

“The Bay of Plenty region has experienced significant growth in recent years evidenced by the fact that per capita GDP and the average household income has increased faster than the national average,” Shane Jones said.

“But it’s also true that not all areas in the Bay of Plenty have shared equally in that growth.  Rural areas and small towns, like those in Eastern Bay of Plenty, have experienced population decline, lower average workforce participation rates and limited career opportunities compared to the main centres.

“From tourism through to aquaculture, the economies of Eastern Bay of Plenty are strongly linked to Tangaroa (Māori god of the sea) and today’s announcement acknowledges and builds on that connection.

“The PGF will support Ōpōtiki’s aquaculture industry with funding for three projects including investment to develop a proposal to establish a deep water mussel farm and on-land mussel processing factory. Once complete, this has the potential to create more than 200 jobs.

“The PGF will also help to progress the first phase of a plan to improve visitor access to Whakaari (White Island) which is a key tourism attraction in the region. This project will collect marine and geological data and contribute to work for safely visitors to the island.

“PGF funding will also contribute to employing a labour coordinator for the Bay of Plenty Kiwifruit industry and $1.76m for local communities to shape future economic development projects right from the planning stage.

“I’m also pleased to announce today that the Eastern Bay of Plenty will receive $1.3 million from the PGF to improve digital connectivity. This follows the announcement last month that the Government had allocated $40 million from the PGF to improve internet and mobile coverage in the regions.  

“The investment we’re announcing today will help to address some the challenges facing the region and reflects the fact that we need to invest, not only in main regional centres, but in small town economies too – where we can unlock significant potential. 

“Eastern Bay of Plenty has a clear vision of the future and through the Provincial Growth Fund, the Government is able to work alongside them to progress projects that will strengthen their communities and grow the local economy,” Shane Jones said.

Today’s announcement builds on a suite of recent announcements in the Bay of Plenty, including $27.83 million for the re-development of the Rotorua Lakefront and Whakarewarewa Forest and $2m to progress a new industrial hub in Kawerau.

Notes 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.

Funding announced today
Project Description Funding

Mussel Farming and Production Facility

Development of a sustainable mussel farming operation in Ōpōtiki

Up to $19,850,000

Improving digital connectivity in Eastern Bay of Plenty

Improving EBOP’s broadband and mobile networks

(This follows a previous announcement that the Provincial Growth Fund will invest in regional digital connectivity)

$1,300,000

Accelerating Aquaculture Developments in Whakatohea Rohe Moana

Research and planning exploring potential aquaculture projects

$935,000

Ōpōtiki Harbour Development Project

First stage in Ōpōtiki Harbour redevelopment

$750,000

Raukokore Irrigation

Investigating irrigation for up to 640ha of land at Raukokore

$781,700

Whakatāne Waterfront and Town Centre Regeneration

Progressing Whakatāne redevelopment plan

$646,000

White Island visitor growth

Feasibility study to investigate improving visitor access to White Island

$400,000

EBOP Regional Development Project Implementation

Funding a position to manage and report on 65 key economic development projects

$237,500

Kiwifruit Labour Co-ordinator

A full time position connecting  workers, contractors and pack houses

$99,999

Ngāti Awa Resource Funding

Completion of preliminary planning work on four projects

$91,700

Total

 

$25,091,899

Bay of Plenty Provincial Growth Fund announcements to date:
Project Description Funding

Redevelopment of Rotorua Lakefront

Redeveloping the Rotorua Lakefront, including building new boardwalks, walkways, cycle-ways, landscaping and improving the visual connection between the city and the lake.

$19,900,000

Development of Whakarewarewa Forest

Developing Whakarewarewa Forest, including renovating the forest entrance, improving car and bus parking, developing more cycle tracks, and building a visitor centre and amenities.

$7,926,000

Minginui Nursery

Funding to grow up to one million native seedlings each year to support the Government’s 1 Billion Trees programme.

$5,800,000

Putauaki Industrial Land Development – Stage 1

Funding initial construction work for the Putauaki Industrial Hub.

$2,000,000

Rotorua Big Moves - Lakefront and Whakarewarewa Forest

Funding for a business case to progress the redevelopment of the Rotorua Lakefront and development of Whakarewarewa Forest.

$811,625

Rail Freight Opportunities - Kawerau/Murupara

Funding of a study to look at options for creating an inland hub to connect exports from Murupara and Kawerau to rail.

$250,000

Total

 

$38,687,625