PGF alchemists turn $$$ into water to beat the Northland drought

Shane Jones was back in his Northland home patch during the week to announce the serving of another dollop of public money from the Provincial Growth Fund.   It was not the first allocation of PGF funding to benefit the region this year.

This time the PGF will allocate up to $2 million to set up temporary water supplies in drought-stricken Kaikohe and Kaitaia.

Just three weeks ago Jones and Deputy PM Winston Peters were in the Far North to announce the provision of up to $12.7 million “to make Northland more resilient in the face of extreme weather”.

At that time the NZ First ministerial twosome also announced the PGF will pump $4 million into upgrading the Dargaville pontoon and a $109.7 million investment into regional rail to revitalise train services across the Northland region.

The latest PGF allocation is a response to severe water shortages in parts of the region.  Town water supply is at risk, particularly in Kaikohe and Kaitaia, if there is no significant rain in the next few weeks.

Regional economic development ministers have agreed to release up to $2m from the $3 billion fund they control.  The $400,000 estimated balance will be met by Far North District Council.

The projects will be led by former MPI director-general Martyn Dunne.

“The cost of trucking water to these towns, where water use is restricted to only essential cooking, drinking and hygiene, is prohibitive,” Shane Jones said.

“A solution is to create the infrastructure to pipe water from a bore on Sweetwater Farm in the case of Kaitaia and from Lake Omapere in the case of Kaikohe.

“In both cases, the water will be pumped to the towns’ water treatment facilities before it is piped to households.”

The operation of Sweetwater Farm will be disrupted as a result of laying pipes from its bore. Measures will be taken to minimise this, Jones said.

Lake Omapere is susceptible to “water quality issues” and will be constantly monitored to ensure it remains healthy.

Once the immediate water supply issues have been addressed, officials will work with the Northland councils to determine what is required to prevent a similar situation in future.

A significant step is the commitment of Far North District Council to contribute $1m to the PGF water storage project in Ngawha, close to Kaikohe. A similar commitment will be required to secure the water supply in Kaitaia.

Jones’ announcement follows Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s move last week to classify the drought conditions in Northland as an adverse event for the primary sector, unlocking $80,000 in government support for farmers and growers.

On January 31 Peters and Jones announced up to $12.745m was being provided through the PGF to ensure the region has a reliable water supply which can be used to develop underutilised land, grow new markets, create jobs and put more money into the local economy.

The two water storage projects being funded are:

  • Northland Water Storage and Use Project – up to $12m for Northland Regional Council
  • Kai for Kaipara Water – $745,000 for Kaipara District Council

In 2018 the PGF provided up to $18.5m to Northland Regional Council to progress water storage projects in the Kaipara and mid-North regions through pre-feasibility work. The funding allowed only one of these to move to full feasibility and construction.

The latest funding would enable water storage projects in both regions to progress to construction.

At the same time the ministers announced –

31 JANUARY 2020

Dargaville pontoon to be upgraded

The Provincial Growth Fund will invest $4 million for Kaipara District Council to upgrade the Dargaville pontoon, the first in its plan to improve wharves on Kaipara Harbour, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

30 JANUARY 2020

Investment to revitalise Northland

State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have today announced a $109.7 million investment, through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), into regional rail that will revitalise train services across the Northland region.

But the ministers have not forgotten that other parts of the country (a) have voters and (b) would welcome PGF assistance.

Here’s how other regions have benefited this year –


PGF supports West Coast connectivity

The West Coast has had a funding injection of over $1.2 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.


Provincial Growth Fund supports Waikato youth into construction

Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund.


Wairoa gets up to $6.1m to rebuild heart of CBD

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing up to $6.1 million to revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa.


Provincial Growth Fund to fund Waipukurau cultural development and tourism

The Ngā Ara Tipuna –  Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project will receive $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund.


Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura.


Wairarapa gets $7.11m PGF water boost

The Provincial Growth Fund is putting $7.11 million into creating a sustainable water supply for Wairarapa.



One thought on “PGF alchemists turn $$$ into water to beat the Northland drought

  1. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    Whilst agreeing such investments may well be needed, why are they coming from the PGF, some of these seem more like essential infrastructure which surely is Council and Government spend and not PGF. Ah, but it is Election Year and NZ First has votes to buy


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