New Zealand First ministers kept the Point of Order Trough Monitor busy yesterday as they sprinkled dollars by the million around the Bay of Plenty and the Far North.
Deputy PM Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Under-secretary Fletcher Tabuteau dished out their millions in the Bay of Plenty.
It may well be the Bay of Plenty, but – hey – they could provide even more and announced $5.5 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for two Kawerau projects, $5 million for Kaingaroa Village to help fund a comprehensive upgrade of its infrastructure, facilities and housing, $18 million for the Rangiuru Business Park project near Te Puke, and a $26 million investment in in Ōpōtiki for public amenities upgrades and further progress on new aquaculture opportunities.
While we were busy preparing our report on those announcements, Peters and Tabuteau were announcing:
This – like most hefty handouts from the government – is being invested in projects that will create hundreds of jobs.
This is a Government investment of $23 million for Bay of Plenty flood protection and employment. It is intended to
“ … allow local communities to address long-standing flood risks and provide jobs”.
Does this mean they previously had been disallowed?
Tabuteau said the investments in Rotorua will contribute to building on Rotorua’s reputation as a “short break” visitor destination, supporting visitor numbers in all seasons, and create much needed jobs for Rotorua.
The projects are being funded by a combination of loans and investments from the Provincial Growth Fund and the Infrastructure Reference Group’s (IRG) shovel ready projects.
Details of the projects include:
- Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa project – $38 million
- Taheke Geothermal Power Station – $11.9 million
- St John Ambulance – $11 million
- Rotorua Lakefront cultural overlay – $1 million
- Waiteti Marae renovation – $372,420
Peters said IRG support for St John Ambulance will enable the building of an ambulance hub with modern facilities for emergency ambulances to respond from, training areas, as well as staff amenities, facilities and offices. It will also create 120 new jobs.
If he means paid jobs, good luck with that.
During the week RNZ reported on St John’s precarious financial position.
St John recorded an $18m deficit in the year to June 2019 and Covid-19 is expected to bring with it a brutal financial hit for charities.
Earlier this year, a leaked memo revealed St John was considering laying off some 100 employees to save $30m.
The flood-protection projects are also being funded by the IRG shovel-ready projects.
Tabuteau said over 130 local jobs will be created in the Bay of Plenty through these projects and the works will be underway within the next 6-12 months.
The Rangitāiki Floodway project and Bay of Plenty River Schemes Flood Resilience project will be funded, comprising of six projects.
- The Rangitāiki Floodway project – Funding supports the final stage of the project, which has been underway for the past seven years. It includes increasing the capacity of the floodway and construction of a Lower Fixed Crest Spillway to manage the flows entering the floodway from the Rangitāiki River above Edgecumbe.
- Implementing Ngongotahā Stream Independent Review Recommendations – Delivering flood mitigation options to address the cause of flooding suffered by the Ngongotahā township in April 2018, which resulted in 38 houses being declared insanitary and requiring extensive repair work.
- Whakatāne River flood defence upgrade – Flood defences on the lower Whakatāne River need to be upgraded to protect the community from flooding in the coming decades.
- Waioeka Estuary Restoration and Floodway Enhancement Project – a large wetland to be created on the left side of the Waioeka River to relieve the flood pressure from Ōpōtiki township stopbanks.
- Kaituna mole upgrade and surrounding amenity enhancements – this work upgrades a Kaituna river scheme structure at Maketū, which provides significant flood management and recreational value in the lower Kaituna catchment area.
- Rangitāiki floodwall resilience mitigation – addresses the integrity of three flood wall structures on the Rangitāiki River.