Muneficent ministers go south with their millions (and demonstrate their prowess with te reo place names)

Was that the Easter bunny?

No – and there was more than one delivery of Easter goodies.

This lot did not go to the Far North.

The Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, delivered his largess (paid for by taxpayers) to the top of the South Island.  The Point of Order Trough Monitor was immediately alerted.

His press statement referred to a region he called Te Tauihu (not to  be confused with Wellington’s Te Tauihu, the name of Wellington City Council’s te reo policy.

Along with bestowing a name that has yet to be approved by the Geographic Board (so far as we know, at least),  Tabuteau announced the Provincial Growth Fund will invest almost $7 million in the Top of the South’s ocean economy and support the first economic growth strategy for all communities in the wider region. 

Future development of the region’s ocean economy will be supported by a $6.4 million PGF investment in the following projects:

  • $6 million to help establish a National Algae Centre in Nelson (Cawthron Institute);
  • Up to $252,000 to investigate an upgrade to Port Tarakohe (Tasman District Council);
  • $95,000 to develop a regional artificial intelligence facility (Nelson Artificial Intelligence Institute);
  • $99,000 towards a business case for the Marlborough Sounds Smart Services Deployment project (Marlborough District Council).

The largest of the investments in the region’s ocean economy will go to the Cawthron Institute, which Tabuteau described as a world-leader in research into the potential applications of algae.

Support from the PGF will enable them to build on their existing work “to unlock new and exciting commercial opportunities”.

The Minister said:

“We know already there is massive potential and global market demand for algae-based products. This investment will enable New Zealand to capitalise on that demand, and will also produce up to 30 new jobs in the region upon the creation of the national centre.

“The PGF will also make it easier for the industry to do business through investments in science and technology. A regional artificial intelligence facility will receive $95,000 and $99,000 will support the delivery of more accurate, consistent and better data to the aquaculture industry.

“A $252,000 PGF investment in Port Tarakohe [you can find it near the Nelson end of Golden Bay] will help the Tasman District Council investigate what is needed to upgrade and expand the port. The green-lipped mussel industry has been given regulatory approval to increase mussel farming over 2,000 hectares in Golden Bay. But in order to do this, they need the port to expand.”

 Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash shared the limelight, saying the investment from the PGF will be a welcome shot in the arm for the primary sector in the top of the South.

He invoked the te reo name for the region.

“Land-based primary industries across Te Tauihu have struggled with drought and fires, and aquaculture has suffered problems with algal bloom and warmer ocean temperatures.”

“But there is a bright future for aquaculture highlighted by strong forecasts of export growth for seafood in key markets, especially China, the U.S. and Europe. This investment will make a real difference,” Stuart Nash said.

Tabuteau said more than 70% of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry is located in the region and a strong research and development capability means Te Tauihu is well-placed to be a global leader in growing the ocean economy.

“But, like many regions of New Zealand, the Top of the South faces issues such as low productivity and low wages which, if not addressed, will hold this region back from realising its incredible potential.”

“To address these issues, the PGF will invest $435,000 in the 2077 Te Tauihu strategy, to give the wider region a roadmap for growing and diversifying the economy for generations to come.

“Wakatū Incorporation is leading the development of the 2077 Te Tauihu strategy on behalf of Nelson City Council, Tasman District Council, Marlborough District Council, eight Iwi of the region, and local business.

“The 2077 Te Tauihu strategy will allow this region to leverage off other key industries to deliver sustainable and meaningful growth into the future, and today is just the beginning.”

At the other end of the South Island, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones was dipping into the PGF to save the provinces, help young people into jobs and support economic growth in Southland.

He was also conditioning New Zealanders to abandon the European names given to our regions and embrace the use of te reo.

His announcements amounted to a $1.6 million investment towards

” … the Maruawai precinct project, which involves the redevelopment of the Hokonui Moonshine Museum and creation of the Maruawai Heritage Centre. We’ve also approved $2.1 million for the Hokonui Huanui programme to provide wrap-around support services for children and rangatahi.

“Our investment in the Maruawai precinct project will lure more visitors to Gore as they travel around the lower South Island to places such as Queenstown and Dunedin. What’s more, the Provincial Growth Fund will also prepare local young people for the jobs that these tourism opportunities will create through the Hokonui Huanui programme.

“We will also invest to support local young people to take up jobs that will be created from a growing Southland economy. Our investment in the Hokonui Huanui project will help to change the lives of rangatahi who are at risk of long-term unemployment.”

Our quick Google search suggested this was the first-ever mention of the Maruawai precinct project.

But we learned Gore was named after New Zealand Governor Thomas Gore-Browne and the settlement was initially established around a ford on the Mataura River.

The District is known to southern Maori as Maruawai – Valley of Water. Many business and organisations in the district also incorporate Hokonui in their name with the Hokonui Hills an important feature of our landscape.

Jones’ press statement sets out PGF announcements which benefit Southland so far.

It also renames Stewart Island:

Project Description Amount
Programme Manager – Predator Free Stuart Island Project management support for the Predator Free Rakiura Leadership Group, including developing a communications plan and investment prospectus. $100,000
Water: People Water and Land Strategy Pilot Collaboration between Environment Southland and Ngai Tahu o Mirihiku to improve water quality outcomes in Southland. $300,000
Southland Story Development Support to help promote Southland as a great place to live, work, learn and invest. $18,000
Milford Highway Fibre Connection Funding to establish a fibre connection in Milford Sound. $12m
Rail Freight Opportunities – South Port Business case to determine the best export flows for forestry and containers. $250,000
Southland Hatchery and Nursery feasibility Business case to assess the development of a state of the art, land-based commercial hatchery to produce salmon smolt and mussel spat. $424,976
Invercargill inner-city development Support stage 2 of the project which includes business case, feasibility study, concept designs and procurement strategies. Following stage 2, the project will create a compact, contemporary city centre precinct with retail, restaurants, offices and entertainment venues. $995,000
Total $14,087,976

Is that it for the day?

On your bike, poor hard-done taxpayer.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced the Government is investing a further $2.3 million in the Great Rides, “which draw visitors to our regions, boosting local economies and the tourism sector”. 

He declared:

  • Government funding of $1.3 million will create an extra 34.5 km of new cycle ways on the Hawke’s Bay Trails Great Ride, adding to the over 200 km of largely off-road flat trails.

“Getting out on the bike is a great way to experience New Zealand and the 22 Great Rides of Ngā Haerenga, New Zealand Cycle Trail showcase the best of our country, providing over one million people every year with an experience they don’t forget,” Kelvin Davis said.

“The Great Rides are particularly important to our regions. This investment will lead to a significant extension to the Hawke’s Bay Trails and we expect it to contribute to a four per cent increase in users by 2023.”

  • An additional $1 million has been approved to make urgent safety repairs on the Alps 2 Ocean trail, following severe flooding on the track, and other track enhancements across seven trails.

“The cycle trails encourage international visitors and Kiwis to explore outside of the main centres and boost our local economies. We need to make sure we look after them.

“Ongoing investment to enhance and maintain the Great Rides means we’ll keep these world class trails for generations to come,” Kelvin Davis said.

The details:

Hawke’s Bay Trails Great Ride:

  • $1.343 million of co-funding has been approved to build three new extensions to the Hawke’s Bay Trails Great Ride. This includes:
    • 7.5 km Bay View to Whirinaki extension which extends the popular Hawke’s Bay coastal trails northwards
    • 16 km Ngaruroro Explorer  which will provide an attractive, easy and off-road loop route around the Ngaruroro River
    • 11 km Karamu Stream extension which will create a safe, off-road link to the Wineries Ride
  • The funding comes from the New Zealand Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund that provides up to $6 million each year to extend or improve the 22 Great Rides.
  • Since 2016, over $20 million has been invested across five of the trails from the Enhancement and Extension Fund.

Maintaining the Quality of Great Ride Fund:

  • The Maintaining the Quality of Great Ride Fund (MGR) provides up to $2 million to maintain and improve existing sections of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

For more information, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website: https://www.mbie.govt.nz/immigration-and-tourism/tourism/tourism-funding/nga-haerenga-the-new-zealand-cycle-trail/ .

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