PGF investing to grow Eastern Bay of Plenty economy

14/12/2018 2:00 p.m.

​Ōpōtiki District Mayor John Forbes has welcomed today's announcements of Provincial Growth Fund support to accelerate the development of aquaculture in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

"It's encouraging to see that central government has confidence in our region and that the Provincial Growth Fund is working alongside the regions to support  local priorities and future opportunities," Mayor Forbes says.

"The assistance provided to Te Whakatōhea will enable the iwi to use innovation and science to explore aquaculture projects that build on its marine history, for the benefit of its people and the community.

Council remains confident that Ōpōtiki and the wider district has a very bright future based on marine industry. We have worked hard to make sure the platform for development is in good shape through the district plan zoning processes and projects such as the sewer rehabilitation.

The announcements that Minister Jones shared with us today are added steps on what has been a long, and continuing, voyage. The Provincial Growth Fund has now endorsed each of the priority areas identified in the collective district economic work developed by the Regional Growth Leadership Group led by Kiri Allan and sponsored by Sir Michael Cullen. It's fitting to again thank Kiri and Sir Michael for their belief in the Eastern Bay's future prosperity and the community wellbeing that will bring."


Hon Shane Jones - Minister for Regional Economic Development​ - Media Statement - 14 December 2018

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 bolster 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. 

"Communities in the Eastern Bay of Plenty have 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.

See table below to see how the funding has been shared.​​

Project

DescriptionFunding
Mussel Farming and Production FacilityDevelopment of a sustainable mussel farming operation in ŌpōtikiUp 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 reg​ional digital connectivity)

$1,300,000
Accelerating Aquaculture Developments in Whakatohea Rohe MoanaResearch and planning exploring potential aquaculture projects $935,000
Ōpōtiki Harbour Development ProjectFirst 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 RegenerationProgressing Whakatāne redevelopment plan$646,000
White Island visitor growthFeasibility 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-ordinatorA 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



Hon Shane Jones - Minister for Regional Economic Development​ - Media Statement - 14 December 2018

PGF investing in future of aquaculture in Eastern Bay of Plenty

"We'll support Whakatohea Mussels Opotiki Ltd with an initial investment of $850,000 to progress further work on a business case for a mussel processing facility. The Government has also agreed, subject to the successful outcome of the business case, to invest up to a further $19 million to support the construction of the on-land mussel processing factory. When fully operational this initiative has the potential to create more than 200 jobs in the region year round.

"The Whakatohea Māori Trust Board will receive up to $950,000 to prepare a business case to accelerate the development of its aquaculture interests and settlement assets. The study will include looking at the potential for a commercial mussel farm and spat catching site including a scientific assessment for a deep sea water farm site.

"Today we are also announcing that the Provincial Growth Fund will invest $750,000 to assist with the development of a business case to progress an affordable Ōpōtiki Harbour plan.  This is the first step to transform the harbour into a productive area to support marine farming in the region. We're committed to working alongside the region to support this important work. 

 "Aquaculture provides one of the biggest opportunities for the Eastern Bay of Plenty to transform its economy, develop significant employment and improve the region's standard of living.  The Government, through the Provincial Growth Fund, is proud to get in behind these projects," Shane Jones said.

Stuart Nash says aquaculture presents a compelling opportunity to transform the economic and social potential of our regions.

"We're committed to investing in the development of these opportunities," Stuart Nash said.

"Seafood export earnings reached $1.8 billion in the year ended June 2018, up 1.9 percent on the previous year.

"We expect strong prices and increased aquaculture export volumes to boost export earnings to just under $2.0 billion by 2020.

"Aquaculture is set to be the main driver for the forecast growth, thanks largely to increased mussel harvests, and higher prices as demand continues to grow in key markets," Stuart Nash said.​


Hon Shane Jones - Minister for Regional Economic Development​ - Media Statement - 14 December 2018

PGF investment to boost digital connectivity in Eastern Bay of Plenty

People and businesses in Eastern Bay of Plenty will benefit from the Provincial Growth Fund's (PGF) investment to improve digital connectivity in the regions, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

 "I'm pleased to announce the Provincial Growth Fund will invest $1.3 million in the Eastern Bay of Plenty to improve digital connectivity. This is additional to the $6 million Government investment already allocated to the area's RBI2 and MBSF expansion.   

"Last month Minister Faafoi and I announced a Provincial Growth Fund investment of $40 million to improve digital connectivity in the regions by expanding the Rural Broadband Initiative Phase Two (RBI2) and the Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF). 

Today's announcement is Eastern Bay of Plenty's share of that funding. 

"This investment will help more people in the region to experience the benefits of faster broadband and improved mobile coverage.  For businesses in particular, this will allow them to fully harness the opportunities new technology brings.

From the Provincial Growth Fund, Ōpōtiki will receive approximately $300,000 and Whakatāne will receive approximately $1 million.  This raises the total investment in each area to $4.2 million and $3.1 million respectively and will make faster broadband available to approximately 861 new households and businesses.

"When the PGF was established, digital connectivity was identified as a key enabler for economic growth in New Zealand's regions – which is exactly why we announced a significant investment in this area.

"The people of Eastern Bay of Plenty deserve access to fast broadband and high quality digital services.  I'm proud the PGF can play a part in that," Shane Jones said.​

Page reviewed: 14 Dec 2018 2:22pm