NZ First ministers announce more handouts from the PGF while Mahuta announces money for Maori

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones can’t be in two places at once and so had to share the headlines today, as more handouts from the Provincial Growth Fund were announced.

Jones took care of announcing a dip into the fund to boost economic growth in Otago.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis shared the limelight. He enthused about Clutha Gold being one of the 22 Great Rides of Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail “and we’re delighted to be encouraging more people to get on a bike and experience the beauty of Central Otago through this investment,” he said.


The press statement says the PGF will provide a “grant” of $6.5m to the project and the Government’s Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund will provide an additional $1.5 million.

A press statement from the office of the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau,  meanwhile, drew attention to a more modest bucket of PGF goodies for the Wairarapa.

In this case New Zealand First’s Ron Mark had the pleasure of making the announcement in Carterton. He is a former mayor of Carterton.

A “strategic investment into the development of whenua” was another announcement today.

Budget 2019 allocates $56.1 million over four years towards implementing the Whenua Māori Programme which Mahuta announced in February.  

We were alerted to these goings-on with taxpayers’ money by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which keeps tabs on Beehive announcements of government spending, investments, handouts, giveaways – and so on.

The monitor was  triggered by:

Otago region gets PGF boost 

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today announced the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing in tourism, transport, manufacturing and skills to help catalyse economic growth in the Otago region.

“From Cromwell in the north to Balclutha in the south, the Provincial Growth Fund is committed to unlocking the economic potential of the entire Otago region,” Shane Jones said.

The projects for the Otago region announced today are:

  • Clutha Gold Great Ride Cycle Trail (Clutha District Council) – $6.5 million
  • Construction workforce modelling (Dunedin City Council) – $250,000
  • SH1 Rosebank Industrial Estate slip lane (Clutha District Council) – $218,000
  • Scoping of new and advanced wood fire technology (Escea Limited) – $96,000
  • Economic Impact Assessment of an adventure park in Cromwell (Big Daddy Adventures Limited) – $20,000

The largest investment announcement will support the extension of the Clutha Gold Great Ride Cycle Trail, from the existing 73 km trail to a total of 136 km – from Lawrence to Waihola via Milton. Constructing the additional 63 km will require 62 workers over the three-year construction phase. In the first 10 years of operation, the extended trail has the potential to create an average of 36 jobs per year.

The expansion of the cycle trail is intended to  showcase the Clutha District’s natural beauty and create an environmentally-friendly tourist attraction for visitors to the area.

The PGF will provide a grant of $6.5m to the project and the Government’s Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund will provide an additional $1.5 million.

The Clutha District will also benefit from a $200,000 PGF investment to build a slip lane off State Highway One, allowing the newly established Rosebank Industrial Park to meet traffic demands and expand.

The industrial park has created new opportunities for businesses in Balclutha, which otherwise would have left the town in order to expand, Jones said.

“That’s why it makes sense for the PGF to enable the Park to grow even further and create jobs for the district through this investment.”  

Other funding announced today includes a $96,000 investment for Dunedin-based manufacturing company Escea Limited to investigate new and advanced wood fire technology.

This could lead to five to six new jobs and up to 35 jobs over five years if the project goes into production.

A further $20,000 investment will go towards an economic impact assessment on the establishment of an adventure park in Cromwell.

The PGF is also supporting Otago to build a sustainable construction workforce through a $250,000 investment to undertake modelling on current and future workforce training and supply requirements.

“Otago has over 700 construction projects which will be worth $10 billion over the next 15 years. This investment has the potential to get local people ready for construction jobs that will allow the region to prosper further,” Jones said..

“The investments we’ve announced today reflect the variety of projects that the region has to offer. The PGF is proud to be supporting Otago to lift its productivity potential,” Shane Jones said.

Otago Provincial Growth Fund announcements to date:

Project Description Amount
Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) Scope the establishment of the CODE to grow the computer gaming industry. $95,000
Dunedin Waterfront Project Complete a full feasibility assessment for the Dunedin Waterfront Project. $820,000
Dunedin Engineering Hub Investigate a shared facility offering equipment, training and other resources between Dunedin firms. $200,000
Waitaki Whitestone Geopark (WWG) Support for the WWG to obtain UNSECO Geopark status. $90,000
Otago Strategic Framework Develop an economic development strategy for the Otago region $60,000
Total $1,265,000

24 MAY 2019

Funding to unlock economic growth in Wairarapa   

The Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, announced today the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $800,000 to investigate the development and construction of community water storage to unlock environmentally sustainable economic growth opportunities in the Wairarapa.

“The water supply is becoming unpredictable in the region, particularly during the summer months. Without it local businesses relying on water could be increasingly impacted, limiting their ability to operate and grow in the region,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

“Research has shown that in the next 25 years, an additional 1000 hectares of apples can expect to generate 1300 more jobs and $81 million a year in GDP for the region. To make this happen, a reliable water supply will be needed. This project has the potential to provide up to 18 million cubic litres of stored water for the region to be used in a time of need.

 A reliable water supply would also enable increased land diversification to higher value, less resource intensive horticulture and agriculture, attract new industries to the region, supplement domestic water supply, and mitigate the impacts of drought.

The PGF’s investment will go to Wairarapa Water Limited (WWL) to support a review and update of a 2015 pre-feasibility study which investigated six potential water schemes in the region, of which the Wakamoekau water storage option was found most favourable. It will also align the study to recent climate change projections and current Government policies regarding small-scale water storage schemes for communities.

This pre-feasibility work will identify and address risks to the region’s long-term ability to further develop economic opportunities and the primary industries sector, which is already a major employer in the region.

Once completed, the Wakamoekau project will be ready to progress the next stage which includes feasibility planning. Wakamoekau water storage would be located northwest of Masterton on the Ruamāhanga River.

Water is one of three focuses of the Wairarapa economic development plan. The project is a collaboration between the WWL, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the three Wairarapa councils.

“Work on developing a successful water solution for the Wairarapa has been on-going since 2010. The PGF has the opportunity to make a strategic investment to move this project forward and improve the Wairarapa economy and quality of life for generations to come in an environmentally sustainable way,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.

Minister of Defence and for Veterans Affairs Ron Mark was to  make the announcement at the Carterton Events Centre at 10.15am on Tabuteau’s behalf.

Delivering for Māori and the whenua 

The Government today announced a strategic investment into the development of whenua, Māori freehold landowners and their whānau.

“Our focus is on stimulating social and economic development through the 1.4 million hectares of whenua Māori that remains in Māori freehold title,” says Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

“The Whenua Māori Programme recognises the challenges facing Māori freehold landowners and the value of pursuing opportunities which will lead to the sustainable and intergenerational development of the land and its people.”

Budget 2019 allocates $56.1 million over four years towards implementing the Whenua Māori Programme which Mahuta announced in February.  

The investment will enable regional on-the-ground advisory services in Te Tai Tokerau, Waiariki and Te Tairāwhiti;  the creation of a Whenua Knowledge Hub and website; new and enhanced services for the Māori Land Court; the modernisation of the Māori Land Court information systems and support for legislative amendments to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993.

Mahuta said the programme will support Māori landowners, trustees and whānau across the spectrum, from those who are establishing ownership interests and governance structures through to owners who are ready to expand their operations and seek opportunities. This includes those landowners who are ready to apply to the Provincial Growth Fund. 

The cross-government programme is being co-led by Te Puni Kōkiri (Ministry of Māori Development) and the Ministry of Justice.

Justice Minister Andrew Little said the changes proposed for the Māori Land Court will better support landowners to access justice services.

“The introduction of a tikanga-focussed dispute resolution service offers Māori landowners a way to settle matters outside of a formal court hearing,” says Minister Little.

Little said Māori landowners had told him that they feel the effort of engaging with the court can outweigh the benefits.

“I want people who come to the Māori Land Court to feel they have more choices and control. This investment gives us an opportunity to take advantage of modern technologies and services to provide landowners with a better experience.”

Targeted amendments to Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 focused on simplifying the succession process, establishing a dispute resolution mechanism and improving services in the Māori Land Court, which will be introduced into Parliament later this year.


Funding for Whenua: $56.1 million total over four years    

Regional whenua advisory services $19.9 million over four years
Whenua Knowledge Hub and website $10.3 million over four years
Succession/online forms/other $10.1 million over four years
New Māori Land Court technology $7.8 million over four years
Dispute resolution $5.5 million over four years
Programme management costs for Te Puni Kōkiri $1.6 million in 2019/20
Legislative process $0.9 million in 2019/20


Funding split across agencies:   

Operating funding for Te Puni Kōkiri $32.6 million over four years
Operating funding for Ministry of Justice $21.4 million over four years
Capital funding for Ministry of Justice $2.1 million in 2019/20

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