New Zealand Parliament Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau has announced a suite of Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investments for the Hawke’s Bay region.
According to a recent press release, the PGF investments include digital connectivity, transport infrastructure, water storage, and skills and employment.
Boosting Hawke’s Bay
The investment package, which is worth more than NZ$ 68 million, will build on the region’s strength to unlock the economic potential of the Hawke’s Bay and improve social outcomes.
The Hawke’s Bay is known for its rich farming and horticulture sectors but it faces challenges such as high youth unemployment, low wages and lower GDP per capita as compared to the rest of New Zealand.
This is the reason why the PGF prioritised it for investment, unveiling the package included.
The announcements are a long-awaited and much-needed boost for the Hawke’s Bay and will absolutely lead to economic growth and enhanced social outcomes
Provincial Growth Fund suite of investments
11 of Hawke’s Bay marae will be connected to fast and reliable broadband, thanks to the local digital connectivity package.
This will help them seize business and education opportunities. The marae or meeting grounds is the focal point of Māori communities throughout New Zealand.
Moreover, through the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi programme, they will invest in employment, skills and capability through two projects that will grow employment opportunities for the benefit of local people and businesses in the region.
Meanwhile, PGF’s Whenua Māori programme will also help unlock the potential of Māori-owned land for horticulture.
This can be achieved by connecting a latent workforce in isolated communities to sustainable employment and training opportunities.
Hawke’s Bay is a significant contributor to New Zealand’s agriculture sector and a global producer, processor and exporter of primary sector products.
It is therefore heavily reliant on a dependable water supply and transport to get its products to market.
The PGF is making a major investment in water with two water storage initiatives, an aquifer mapping project, and a region-wide water assessment project to better understand the region’s wider water needs.
Environment Minister David Parker said the water storage projects were of a much smaller scale than previously proposed initiatives.
Both projects will support horticultural production in the region by improving the security of water supply in dry years.
Unlike the prior Ruataniwha scheme, which relied on increasing cow and cattle numbers, these projects will assist the conversion of livestock farms to horticulture by putting more pressure on water quality.
The transport initiatives being announced would improve links within the region and between major transport hubs, key services and markets, making travel more time and cost efficient.
Further investments in industry-led activities in the Hawke’s Bay region will be announced in the coming months.