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By Newsroom America Feeds at 22 Feb 2018


/////////////////////////////////////////// Provincial Growth Fund boost to regions

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 05:51 PM PST

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Fletcher Tabuteau has congratulated Minister Jones on launching the Provincial Growth Fund in Gisborne today. A key component of the coalition agreement between Labour and New Zealand First was the establishment of a $1 billon per annum regional development fund. “This Government is committed to our regions and the Provincial Growth Fund demonstrates how serious we are about providing economic opportunities to all parts of New Zealand,” says Under-Secretary Tabuteau. “There is huge potential in New Zealand’s provinces and this Fund will allow central Government to form genuine partnerships with local councils, iwi, business owners, community organisations and other private sector entities to unlock this potential. “One of my focuses is to support the work of economic development agencies, organisations and governance groups, and I look forward to supporting Māori economic development so we can all reach the goals articulated in regional economic action plans. “With better resourcing, we are now in a position to create jobs, enable long-term sustainable growth, and enhance social inclusion for all New Zealanders.”

/////////////////////////////////////////// Future focus on Upper North Island logistics

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 05:46 PM PST

The future of the upper North Island ports, including whether Ports of Auckland should be relocated, will be considered as part of a wider transport and logistics strategy, Associate Minister of Transport Shane Jones has today announced. Cabinet has approved a programme of work to develop a comprehensive Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy to ensure our supply chain is fit-for-purpose in the long term. “The future of New Zealand’s ports, freight services and coastal shipping is critical to our economy and for promoting opportunities for regional development and employment,” Mr Jones says. “New Zealand’s freight volumes are expected to continue to grow. Understanding the drivers and uncertainties around the future of freight and logistics demand is vital to ensuring our supply chain is fit-for-purpose in the long term. “The Government will soon appoint an independent working group of experts who will report to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Transport and myself. “The work to develop the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy comprises a logistics and freight review, as well as a plan for the long-term future of ports in the Upper North Island. It will also include priorities for investment in rail, roads and supporting infrastructure. “Building an effective and sustainable transport system is a priority for the Government. “As per our coalition agreement, we are committed to exploring the feasibility of moving the location of the Ports of Auckland, including giving Northport serious consideration. “We are also committed to investigating a rail line to Marsden Point and Northport and upgrading the North Auckland Line to take pressure off the roads in Northland. “Freight is a key enabler of our economy, and we rely on our international freight links to connect our goods to the world. About 55 per cent of New Zealand’s freight originates in or is destined for Northland, Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions,” Mr Jones says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Rail: $8m injection to reboot regional rail

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 05:43 PM PST

Regional Economic Development Minister and Associate Transport Minister Shane Jones has today announced the first of many regional rail initiatives the Government is looking to support. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide $8.75 million to reopen the Wairoa-Napier line for logging trains, upgrade the Whanganui line for mainline locomotives carrying exports and fund feasibility studies for three further regional rail projects. “These are just the initial shovel-ready rail projects that are ready to go and have been in the pipeline for some time,” Mr Jones says. “The Government has signalled its strong commitment to using rail to drive regional growth and I expect more projects will be funded over time from the PGF. “These are relatively modest investments in dollar terms, but we expect them to deliver good value and to support regional businesses. “The Government is making safety a higher priority when it invests in transport and taking logging trucks off challenging roads contributes to that. “KiwiRail’s financial result released this week showed an 8 per cent revenue increase in its overall forestry business in the six months to December – a result being driven by strong growth in the volume of logs. “Rail generates 66 per cent fewer carbon emissions compared to heavy trucks – the sort of reduction we need to meet our country’s ambitious climate change targets. “We’re providing $250,000 for three feasibility studies on KiwiRail projects in Kawerau, Southland and New Plymouth – $750,000 in total. “The Kawerau study will look at options for creating an inland hub to connect exports from Murapara and Kawerau to rail. “In Southland, KiwiRail will work with local forestry interests and ports to determine the best export flows for forestry and containers and the New Plymouth study will also focus mainly on opportunities for forestry exports. “I look forward to learning more about the three proposals and continuing to be a champion for regional rail,” Mr Jones says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Manea Footprints of Kupe recieves PGF funding

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 04:03 PM PST

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide up to $4.6 million towards a new cultural tourism experience in Opononi, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis has announced. “There is real potential for tourism to help grow our regions and benefit our smaller communities,” Mr Davis says. “We know that Northland has higher than average unemployment and the Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre is a great project that will enhance economic development.” “It will create up to 14 full-time jobs and will provide additional tourism opportunities for Northland’s West Coast.” The Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre was identified in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan, which was launched in February 2016. The Centre will celebrate Kupe’s voyage to Hokianga and his journeys across Aotearoa. It will present and preserve 1,000 years of Māori history through stories of Kupe’s descendants and how New Zealand came to be inhabited by humans, as well as showcasing the local culture and places of historical significance. There will be a combination of guided tours, interactive performances and technology stations, complemented by taonga repatriated from various museums. “There is immense opportunity for Māori to develop tourism businesses around their culture, history and stories. Manea Footprints of Kupe is an important part of that offering to visitors," Mr Davis says. “Culturally, this project is considered nationally significant and will play a role in retaining Māori identity and celebrating our past. It will also serve as an educational resource in local schools, giving our tamariki a sense of place and inclusion. “Manea Footprints of Kupe is an ambitious project and will be a world-class asset for Northland’s West Coast."

/////////////////////////////////////////// One billion tree programme under way

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 03:39 PM PST

Collaborative efforts towards the ambitious one billion trees target are well under way with the first areas of land needed for Crown Forestry planting this winter committed, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says. “The tree planting programme will benefit New Zealand’s provinces, our environment and our people – it is a big boost for the forestry sector and will create more jobs and training opportunities to provinces that have been doing it tough for a while now,” Mr Jones says. “Our climate change objectives will be advanced and our use of natural resources will be more sustainable and productive. We face a $36 billion potential liability by 2030 and planting trees is a sustainable and effective contribution towards our transition to a zero carbon economy. “We have a strong base to build on, with the commercial forestry sector projected to plant half a billion trees in the next 10 years. We’re already seeing private landowners, government agencies, NGO’s, iwi, regional councils, nurseries and the private sector working hard to plant the other half a billion. “Planting will be lower in the initial years due to natural seedling and land constraints, but will then ramp up quickly. “Policies are being developed to avoid unintended environmental or economic outcomes, land is being secured, seedlings are being grown, private investment is being stimulated and infrastructure is being developed. “All of this combined will see us go from 55 million trees this year, to 70 million a year in 2020, to 90 million in 2021. From there we will be aiming for 110 million a year over the next seven years of the programme. “This year, almost 7.3 million trees will be planted through various Ministry for Primary Industries schemes – about half of which will be indigenous species. “Planting will include both exotics and natives. We want to enable planting of a mix of permanent and harvestable forestry, using both exotic and native tree species on private, public and Maori-owned land. Species include radiata pine, red wood, totara, eucalyptus, Douglas fir and mānuka. “This is certainly about commercial crops, but it is also about environmental, regional and other gains as well. “We are finalising an agreement with Landcorp to plant 1 million trees this winter and another million trees next year – about 2,000 hectares in total – and a review of its portfolio to identify any other potential land for planting. “Landcorp are progressive land managers and have long seen the commercial and environmental benefits of forestry, with 10,000 hectares planted already. “We expect to be able to make more announcements about where trees will be planted this year in the coming months. “Today, we’re also opening applications for the Afforestation Grants Scheme (AGS), which provides $1,300 of Government funding per hectare for new forests between five and 300 hectares. “I encourage landowners thinking about forestry to apply for grants through the AGS and we want to exhaust the full $6.5 million of available funding. “Forestry is a great choice. It will help landowners to diversify their income, invest in their family’s future and improve productivity – as well as help to play their part in economic development and meeting environmental goals, such as tackling erosion,” Mr Jones says. Applications for the AGS must be received by MPI by 14 May 2018. For further information visit

/////////////////////////////////////////// West Coast: Future-proofing key to economic growth

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 03:29 PM PST

The Provincial Growth Fund will invest in two cycle trails for the West Coast and work with the region to develop more proposals to be considered for funding, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. “The West Coast has a historic reliance on primary industries and natural resources as the backbone of its regional economy yet is a tourist hot spot with visitor numbers growing strongly” Mr Jones says. "Today, we’re announcing a $1 million investment towards the construction of two Great Rides – the West Coast Wilderness Trail and the Old Ghost Rd trail. “The PGF will provide $100,000 to help Punakaiki develop a much-needed master plan to future-proof the township. “We are also providing $350,000 to assist in the establishment of a waste-to-energy plant in the Buller District. “The West Coast has unfortunately experienced negative population growth in recent years and the region is constrained by infrastructure that is not fit-for-purpose. “However, numerous other proposals exist for the West Coast and the Government will work with various groups to identify how the PGF can help enhance its economic opportunities, create jobs and lift the overall productivity potential of the region,” Mr Jones says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Northland: Tourism and jobs at heart of economic development package

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 03:27 PM PST

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide $17.5 million to help create jobs, address infrastructure deficits, diversify the regional economy and enhance the tourism opportunities that exist in Northland, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced today. “Northland has enormous untapped potential and – after years of neglect – I’m looking forward to seeing what the PGF can do in partnership with the region to transform this beautiful part of the country,” Mr Jones says. “Tourism is a growing sector with far-reaching benefits but Northland is severely restricted in terms of capacity to both keep up with demand, and capitalise on the opportunities that tourism presents for Northland. “Northland has higher than average unemployment so a huge focus for the region is to create sustainable jobs and get more young people into education, training and employment. “This Government is committed to doing that, and the PGF can help provide the much-needed investment Northland needs to kick-start this momentum. “Today, we’re announcing support for two cultural centres in Opononi and Whangarei, a Tōtara industry pilot to explore a new market in the forestry sector, the construction of a new tourism hub in Kawakawa and a long-awaited roading project to greatly improve safety, reduce congestion and support the overall economic growth of the region. “This is just the beginning for Northland with further announcements expected in the coming weeks,” Mr Jones says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Manawatū-Whanganui: Port and Rail boost

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 03:19 PM PST

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest more than $6 million towards revitalisation of the Whanganui Port and upgrade of the town’s rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. Subject to a business case, the Government will support works to the port planned by Whanganui District Council and identified in the 2016 Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan – Accelerate 25. “Redevelopment of the port precinct is a significant step that will help bring in new businesses and rejuvenate the region,” Mr Jones says. "The goal is to create a more extensive area for value-added specialist manufacturing and make Whanganui an attractive investment prospect for marine and logistics-related industries. "Expansion of the port precinct is expected to create 160 new jobs as businesses get established. “During my visit to the region, I was impressed by the level of collaboration between local government, iwi, and businesses,” Mr Jones says. The Government will provide an additional $90,000 to assist with further technical and design work, including undertaking a geotechnical assessment. “The PGF will also provide $3 million for a project to build resilience into the Whanganui rail line – a good example of the sort of remedial infrastructure projects the Fund can assist,” Mr Jones says. “The project will improve the resilience of the line and support KiwiRail in moving the growing export volumes in the region, which includes both dairy products and logs. “KiwiRail estimates that each year the project will keep 6,250 trucks off the road, and 563 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere by enabling freight to travel by rail,” Mr Jones says. The work is expected to take three years.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Gisborne/Hawkes Bay: Tourism and forestry take centre stage

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 03:14 PM PST

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $8.6 million in Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay to immediately boost tourism and forestry opportunities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “Gisborne and the Hawke’s Bay have been very active in drumming up proposals since the Government agreed to establish a $1 billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund and we’ll continue to work in partnership with the regions to further develop these ideas,” Mr Jones says. “I’m pleased to be in Gisborne today announcing the first tranche of projects for a region that has huge potential to grow its economy while creating high-value jobs and lifting its overall productivity potential. “The PGF will provide support for a broad tourism package, including $2.3 million to redevelop Gisborne Inner Harbour and $1 million toward a programme to commemorate the first encounters between Māori and Europeans. “We’re contributing $200,000 to kick-start the creation of a $20 million Wood Processing Centre of Excellence in Gisborne, which would create 167 jobs. “We’re also providing $5 million to KiwiRail to reopen the Wairoa-Napier line for logging trains, taking more than 5,700 trucks off the road each year. “We’ll be investing in planting Mānuka trees to support a recirculating wetland to filter water on 80 hectares of land next to the Whakaki Lake in the Wairoa district and contributing toward the Makauri Managed Aquifer Recharge trial to combat declining water levels. “About 49 per cent of the population of Tairāwhiti is Māori and there are opportunities to increase employment and enhance Māori development and social inclusion in the region. “There’s more to come for these regions and officials are working to identify where further Government funding could be applied. I look forward to making many more announcements in the East Coast over the life-time of the PGF,” Mr Jones says.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Plan for Punakaiki gets go ahead

Posted: 22 Feb 2018 03:00 PM PST

Punakaiki suffered from a lack of planning under National, and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is pleased this will now change with today’s Provincial Growth Fund announcements. The fund will provide $100,000 to help Punakaiki develop a master plan to future-proof the township. “The famous Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki are major drawcards for visitors, as are the dramatic karst landscapes in the Punakaiki and Pororari Valleys,” Ms Sage said. “Of course people want to come see these special places but there’s been a failure to plan for increased visitor numbers and we need better infrastructure.” Ms Sage visited Punakaiki in November and has been a strong supporter of the Department of Conservation working with Buller District Council, West Coast Regional Council, iwi, residents and local businesses on a master plan for the area. “I am pleased the Provincial Growth Fund will support this work. DOC is a key player in Punakaiki and has been involved with this process from the start, offering advice and funding of $15,000 to the master plan project. “Punakaiki is a special place, but it is struggling with a number of serious issues which are very hard for a small rating base – less than 100 residents – to handle.” More than 500,000 people visit Punakaiki every year, drawn by the Pancake Rocks and Paparoa National Park. That will only increase with the opening of the Paparoa Great Walk next year. “Safeguarding a good water supply, ensuring there’s a sewerage system which can cope with the number of visitors, better managing vehicles, and coastal erosion issues are some of the challenges the Master Plan will need to solve.” Ms Sage said protecting wildlife was also an aspect of future proofing. “For instance Westland petrels are disorientated by the lights of Punakaiki and land near lights in places where they are unable to take flight again. Finding solutions that help all of the locals – both human, and wildlife is a priority,” Ms Sage says. The plan will be developed and implemented from 2019 onwards.

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