PGF supports Southland regional growth

The Southland region is set to receive a boost to its economy with Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) support for an Invercargill development project, aquaculture, and sheep and goat dairy initiatives, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.

“These announcements demonstrate the PGF’s focus on projects with potential to spark economic growth and create jobs in the Southland region,” says Mr Tabuteau.

The PGF feasibility projects announced today are:

  • $995,000 for Invercargill inner-city development
  • $424,900 for Southland hatchery and nursery
  • $490,000 for sheep and goat industry resources

The Inner-City Development is a visionary project to bring life and vitality to Invercargill and Southland,” Mr Tabuteau said.

“The funding will support Stage Two of the project, ensuring it is robust enough to attract future investment, and deliver infrastructure that is resilient and sustainable.”

A business case, feasibility study, concept designs and procurement strategies are included in this stage of the project to ultimately deliver confidence in the wider region.

Following Stage Two, the project will kick into top gear to create a compact, contemporary city centre precinct to attract high-quality retail, restaurants, offices and entertainment venues. This is part of the strategy to grow Southland’s population.

“Another project is based on aquaculture, an exciting industry in Southland and identified as one of the region’s biggest economic opportunities,” Mr Tabuteau said.

An injection of $424,900 will fund a business case to assess the development of a state of the art, land-based commercial hatchery to produce salmon smolt and mussel spat.

“This has the potential to unlock over $400 million in export earnings and over 500 jobs for the region,” Mr Tabuteau said.

The proposed Southland hatchery and nursery facilities will:

  • Address a predicted shortage of juvenile salmon
  • Adopt new and transferable technology for faster processing and increased production, while improving biosecurity management and environmental control
  • Bridge the gap to commercialisation
  • Enable polyculture research

“The business case is a critical building block to achieve the expansion and future development of the aquaculture industry in Southland.” 

This opportunity will help upscale an industry, grow GDP, further investment - including R&D investment, and introduce much needed diversity for the regional economy.

The new facilities will also upskill Southland people through developing and operating world-leading hatchery technology and breeding programmes. It’s also expected to attract higher skilled labour, from researchers through to production roles.

Finally, an exciting initiative for a nationwide programme stands to benefit the well-established and significant Southland sheep milk industry.

“We’re investing $490,000 with FoodSouth to scope further development of the sheep and goat milk industry,” Mr Tabuteau said.

“Sheep and goat dairying is an emerging industry with significant potential driven by high consumer demand for environmentally sustainable, alternative milk products.

“Sheep milk farming exists in pockets around the country, particularly in Southland, but this project will assess the economic viability of developing a nationwide industry.”

FoodSouth will develop a national business case of the industry to identify export opportunities, estimates required for goat and sheep milk volumes to meet potential

demand, and consider the best locations for processing plants.

The report will focus on four products which are considered to have high-value potential: liquids, cheese, butter, and protein powders.

“Southland sheep milk farmers stand to benefit from the information and insights this project will create, including workshops and market research.

“These projects align with the Southland Regional Development Strategy, led by the Southland Mayoral Forum. Creating vibrant urban centres, innovation and extending industries like aquaculture are all goals for the Southland region.

“It’s great to see the PGF’s involvement in all three projects which demonstrate exciting opportunities to develop Southland’s high value industries, and the revitalisation of Invercargill,” Mr Tabuteau said.

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.