Provincial Growth Fund open for business
The new $1 billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund has been officially launched in Gisborne today by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.
“As of today, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is open for business and has the potential to make a real difference to the people of provincial New Zealand,” Mr Jones says.
“We are being bold and we are being ambitious because this Government is committed to ending the years of neglect. Nearly half of us live outside our main cities. If this country is to do well, then our provinces must thrive.
“Our first regional packages support the regions most neglected by the last government: in Northland, Tairāwhiti-East Coast, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatū-Whanganui and the West Coast of the South Island.
“We are providing an immediate boost to these areas by investing $61.7 million into forestry initiatives, tourism ventures, rail and roading projects, and supporting these regions develop their proposals further to help them get off the ground.
“The first of many projects the PGF will support will create more than 700 direct jobs, and 80 indirect jobs – an impressive start to what will be an exciting three years for our provinces.
“If all the projects we’re funding realise their full potential, this will equate to more than $344 million of public and private investment for our regional economies.”
The PGF aims to enhance economic development opportunities, create sustainable jobs, contribute to community well-being, lift the productivity potential of regions, and help meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.
“The $3 billion will be fully committed over three years, making investment in the provinces more attractive for private sector investment, which has strongly favoured our main urban centres in recent years.
"We will form genuine partnerships up and down the country and provide the capital needed to stop projects languishing in long-term plans and regional action strategies.”
All regions are eligible for funding.
“An Independent Advisory Panel has been appointed to assist the decision-making of ministers and officials, supported by a new Regional Economic Development Unit within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to work directly with regions, ensuring this isn’t a Wellington-driven Fund.
“Our provinces are full of ideas and proposals. I have been heartened by the aspirations of so many businesses and investors, local councils, iwi, and community groups and I’m pleased to say that we now have a mechanism to see these realised.
“The announcements we’re making today are just the beginning and I’m looking forward to building on this momentum over the coming weeks, months and years and realising the untapped potential of our provinces,” Mr Jones says.