PGF invests in Top of the South ocean economy

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest almost $7 million in the Top of the South’s ocean economy and also support the first economic growth strategy for all communities in the wider region, the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.

Future development of the region’s ocean economy will be supported by a $6.4 million PGF investment in the following projects:

  • $6 million to help establish a National Algae Centre in Nelson (Cawthron Institute)
  • Up to $252,000 to investigate an upgrade to Port Tarakohe (Tasman District Council)
  • $95,000 to develop a regional artificial intelligence facility (Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute)
  • $99,000 towards a business case for the Marlborough Sounds Smart Services Deployment project (Marlborough District Council)

The largest of the investments in the region’s ocean economy will go to the Cawthron Institute, a world-leader in research into the potential applications of algae. Support from the PGF will enable them to build upon their existing work to unlock new and exciting commercial opportunities.

“We know already there is massive potential and global market demand for algae based products. This investment will enable New Zealand to capitalise on that demand, and will also produce up to 30 new jobs in the region upon the creation of the national centre.

“The PGF will also make it easier for the industry to do business through investments in science and technology. A regional artificial intelligence facility will receive $95,000 and $99,000 will support the delivery of more accurate, consistent and better data to the aquaculture industry.

“A $252,000 PGF investment in Port Tarakohe will help the Tasman District Council investigate what is needed to upgrade and expand the port. The green-lipped mussel industry has been given regulatory approval to increase mussel farming over 2,000 hectares in Golden Bay. But in order to do this, they need the port to expand.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the investment from the PGF will be a welcome shot in the arm for the primary sector in the top of the South.

“Land-based primary industries across Te Tauihu have struggled with drought and fires, and aquaculture has suffered problems with algal bloom and warmer ocean temperatures.”

“But there is a bright future for aquaculture highlighted by strong forecasts of export growth for seafood in key markets, especially China, the U.S. and Europe. This investment will make a real difference,” Stuart Nash said.

Under-Secretary Tabuteau said with more than 70% of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry located in the region and a strong research and development capability, Te Tauihu is well-placed to be a global leader in growing the ocean economy.

“But, like many regions of New Zealand, the Top of the South faces issues such as low productivity and low wages which, if not addressed, will hold this region back from realising its incredible potential.”

“To address these issues, the PGF will invest $435,000 in the 2077 Te Tauihu strategy, to give the wider region a roadmap for growing and diversifying the economy for generations to come.

“Wakatū Incorporation is leading the development of the 2077 Te Tauihu strategy on behalf of Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, eight Iwi of the region, and local business.

“The 2077 Te Tauihu strategy will allow this region to leverage off other key industries to deliver sustainable and meaningful growth into the future, and today is just the beginning.

“We are proud to support the Top of the South through the Provincial Growth Fund,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

Notes to editors:

Due to inclement weather Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau was unable to attend this event.

These projects are funded under the appropriation for the Provincial Growth Fund, which was made through Budget 2018.

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.