Marae at Parihaka Pa to get better broadband while engineering projects are pampered down south

Fresh from sprinkling fairy dust in Taranaki – or rather, redistributing taxpayers’ hard-earned money – Shane Jones headed south and announced a plethora of handouts and investments in Otago.

The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki were the beneficiaries of the first of the latest handouts from the Provincial Growth Fund.  They have been upgraded to high speed broadband with PGF support *.

It has taken a while, but this much-denounced colonisation thing at last is showing glimpses of having a positive side.

Down south, Jones pumped a much bigger sum – almost $20 million – into re-establishing KiwiRail’s Hillside workshop and  almost $8 million into a raft of engineering projects.

Oh, and with a billion trees in mind presumably, $63,000 will be spent on supporting eight 17 and 18 year olds to enter careers in forestry.

And then there’s a $10 million spend “to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years … ”  ** 

But what does this intervention by central government do for the aspirations of other regions which might hope to become the centre of the country’s creative digital industry?

The announcements were all registered by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which reports:

  29 OCTOBER 2019

PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa

The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

“Connecting the three Marae – Takitūtū, Te Niho o Te Atiawa and Toroānui – to high speed broadband will make a big difference for the people of Parihaka,” Shane Jones said.

The investment is part of the $21m investment into marae connectivity and regional digital hubs programme announced in February, of which $20m was funded by the PGF.

“Marae are meeting places for whānau, hapū and iwi, and are central to many rural communities. Improving connectivity helps them remain relevant for younger generations, and provides economic opportunities for local people,” Shane Jones said.

Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta said this investment is a further example of working alongside the Parihaka community to improve their connectivity to each other and the wider community.

“The opportunity to extend the reach of the ‘Parihaka story’ via the web strengthens the enduring legacy contribution of tūpuna Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kākahi to promote peace and reconciliation,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

The Parihaka community agreed a reconciliation agreement with the Crown in 2017, which included an apology for the invasion by Crown troops in 1881 following peaceful protests against land confiscations. More than 400 residents were imprisoned following the invasion.

The digital connectivity project is part of wider infrastructure development being undertaken by the Parihaka Papakāinga Trust on behalf of the community following the reconciliation agreement.

The Marae have been connected with upgraded equipment from Primo Wireless, one of Crown Infrastructure Partners’ existing rural broadband partners based in New Plymouth. The Marae have a 100Mbps connection with uncapped data, are linked together and have access points providing widespread wifi access across the entire Pa.

30 OCTOBER 2019

PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today.

Almost $20 million is being dedicated to re-establish KiwiRail’s Hillside workshop, once a key part of New Zealand’s rail infrastructure, as part of the Coalition Government’s plan to revitalise rail.

“Under this Government, rail is back on track and the days of managed decline are over. We are dedicating $19.97m to re-establish the Hillside workshop as a mechanical hub and heavy engineering facility to service KiwiRail’s trains. Hillside is the only heavy lifting rail facility in the South Island so it is vital to KiwiRail’s business,” Shane Jones said.

“The Coalition Government is investing more than a billion dollars in rail, including $300m from the PGF in Budget 2019. It makes sense to ensure there are quality facilities available to support KiwiRail to maintain their trains and undertake a range of heavy maintenance and upgrade work.”

The Provincial Growth Fund is also investing almost $8m in smaller engineering and manufacturing sectors, which are vital for this region both in terms of economic growth and employment opportunities.

“We are providing $5.8m towards the establishment of a dedicated manufacturing agriculture technology business unit within Dunedin-based company Scott Technology. This unit will be dedicated to automation solutions and services for New Zealand food processors, producers and their suppliers,” Shane Jones said.

The funding package includes nearly $500,000 for the Southland and Otago Regional Engineering Collective (SOREC).

David Parker says this funding will support the collective work that SOREC are doing to find ways to reinvigorate the sector.

“Both this and the seven other projects that received funding today will create a step change in productivity and efficiency, and lead to the development of 87 new permanent jobs in the region.”

Further details on the nine engineering projects funded:

Southland and Otago Regional Engineering Collective ($495,000 – over 3 years) towards establishment of the Collective to bring a coordinated approach across the sector to build capability and capacity.

Scott Agritech ($5.8 million) for the establishment of a dedicated Agritech Business Unit to become a New Zealand-specific and customer-led supplier of automation solutions and services for mainly food processors.

Petridish Limited ($240,000) towards equipment and salaries for its ‘Makerspace’ area that allows manufacturing businesses to trial and test new, innovative products.

United Machinists ($520,000) towards purchasing a specific piece of engineering equipment to accelerate the manufacturing of parts and products.

Site Weld ($350,000) to purchase three pieces of engineering equipment for its fabrication, repair and maintenance services business, which services mining, industrial, heavy transport, marine and forestry sectors and is regularly involved in Health and Safety solutions.

Farra Engineering Limited ($325,000) towards the installation of a Horizontal Floor Borer machine which will help complete maintenance work in shorter timeframes for several major South Island power generators.

Bison Group Limited ($110,000) towards creating a demonstration space to showcase its products that lift and weigh shipping containers and for additional equipment.

Red One Fabrication Limited ($93,000) towards a specific piece of engineering equipment to help this company, which is a leader in the innovation and design of Stainless Steel and Aluminium products for the Aviation industry, increase its output.

KiwiRail Dunedin Hillside Workshops ($19.97m) to upgrade the two main workshop buildings, overhaul mechanical plant, to enable KiwiRail to increase the services it undertakes at Hillside.

30 OCTOBER 2019

PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ambitious waterfront redevelopment project.

The funding will help with the first stage of the project, which involves constructing the wharf infrastructure and public space and will complement the Dunedin City Council’s plans to develop a pedestrian and cycling bridge connecting the waterfront to the city.

“It is an ambitious project which will start the transformation of Dunedin’s waterfront into an accessible destination for locals and visitors. This will bring people into the area which will encourage economic growth and job creation,” Shane Jones said.

“The waterfront transformation is part of wider local initiatives under way to stimulate economic growth and employment within Dunedin and the wider Otago region. The Council expects the completed project will bring new jobs in education, research, technology, innovation and tourism ventures in the region.

“This initiative and the wider investment package being announced by Ministers in Otago today will really get things moving in a region that is already humming.

“There’s already 700 construction projects planned for Otago over the next 15 years, which will help the region prosper. The funding announced today for local engineering and manufacturing firms will increase their productivity and shows the diverse range of skills and experience Otago has going for it,” Shane Jones said.

30 OCTOBER 2019

Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 year olds to enter careers in forestry.

“Forestry is currently enjoying a renewed lease on life thanks to the One Billion Trees programme and the Government’s emphasis on the sector for both regional development and environmental outcomes,” Shane Jones said.

The funding will see these young people trained, upskilled and supported into local full time employment. They will gain first-hand experience in the forestry industry, from establishment to production, while gaining industry-related qualifications,” Shane Jones said.

“Forestry is a major industry in the Otago region but forestry companies are short of workers. Additionally, there’s an ageing workforce so it’s important that we encourage more young people into sustainable and exciting forestry careers,” Shane Jones said.

“And there are wider public benefits – the forestry industry offers opportunities to optimise land use, help mitigate the effects of climate change, protect the environment, and ensure sustainable fibre has a key role in the future low carbon economy,” Shane Jones said.

Participants for the programme will be recommended by their schools and will be interviewed for suitability before being accepted.

The PGF funding will pay for a qualified industry tutor, support the transport of trainees to the course and to work experience, and cover the administration costs required to run the course.

30 OCTOBER 2019

Otago to lead digital creativity

Regional Economic Development

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

“The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of a $1 billion computer gaming industry, which will catalyse new economic growth and sustainable employment opportunities,” Shane Jones said.

“Dunedin is well placed to do this as it builds on the city’s emerging gaming and digital businesses, a thriving start-up mentality, strong Māori partnerships, global links and strong academic partners.

“The digital economy is the fastest growing segment of the global economy. The establishment of the Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE), will be a catalyst for a stronger digital economy within New Zealand.

“We funded a scoping exercise to look into the establishment of CODE earlier this year. I’m pleased to see as part of that work that the centre will focus on ‘Games for Health’. This will link in with the city’s education and digital health technology sector – including the $1.4 billion Dunedin Hospital rebuild.

“The CODE will invest in career pathways to the gaming industry, help develop digital skills, grow digital capability, support innovation through contestable funds, and attract digital businesses to Dunedin.

“Over a ten-year period it’s estimated that CODE will create between 30 and 50 new small video game studios, each employing on average 3.5 employees and 3 to 5 large video game studios, each employing on 45 workers on average,” Shane Jones said.


* This post was created on a PC in a residence just 30 minutes from Parliament Buildings and Jones’ ministerial office (by car at non-peak hours).   Mobile phone signals cannot be received here and the broadband link is – well, comparatively primitive.  Is there any prospect of our writer becoming eligible to tap into the $21m investment into marae connectivity and regional digital hubs programme? Right next door to our writer (he is keen to point out) is Battle Hill Farm Forest Park, the site of a clash between Ngāti Toa and British troops in 1846, although his ancestors were elsewhere at the time and could be considered neutrals. .   

** Does their work on this blog mean that our team members contribute to the  creative digital industry?


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