Studies show regional investment works for business and communities

Published: 15 May, 2024

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Two new impact studies reveal regional investment in Ōpōtiki and the aquaculture sector improved infrastructure and created new opportunities for employment and innovation.

In late 2023, two studies were undertaken by independent research agency Allen + Clarke on regional economic development investment. These studies focussed on investment in the township of Ōpōtiki and in the aquaculture sector. They are the latest in a series of four independent impact studies commissioned by Kānoa Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit, in MBIE.

The impact of Kānoa administered government investment in Ōpōtiki

The impact of Kānoa-administered government investment in Ōpōtiki [PDF, 1.4MB] —

This impact study produced key findings on economic and social outcomes in the Ōpōtiki region.

The report, based on administrative records, interviews, survey and focus groups, discusses the impact the funding had on the region, which included:

  • Improved infrastructure, education, and economic development opportunities.
  • Direct employment of locals, as well as indirect employment in adjacent industries. For example, the construction of Ōpōtiki Harbour encouraged the growth of mussel farming in Ōpōtiki aided in the development of the Ōpōtiki Mussel Processing Facility, furthering support to Māori, local employment and training opportunities.

The study found that the funding generated positive impacts for local communities and Māori throughout Ōpōtiki. For instance, efficient water systems for heating and irrigation enabled Māori landowners to convert their properties to high-value horticulture. Another example is the development of digital infrastructure in the town, which led to more services and encouraged further investment.

The contribution of Kānoa-administered government funding to Aotearoa New Zealand’s Aquaculture Industry

The contribution of Kānoa-administered government funding to Aotearoa New Zealand’s Aquaculture Industry [PDF, 1.3MB] —

This study focused on the impact of Kānoa-administered funding in the aquaculture industry. In addition to around $38 million directly targeted to aquaculture, other funding was distributed to projects such as ports and harbours that play an important role in supporting the aquaculture industry.

The study found that the investment yielded several outcomes, including:

  • Significantly boosted employment in the aquaculture sector.
  • Effective training and development, upskilling the local workforce.
  • Promoted innovation and secured intellectual property for multiple parts of the sector.

The funding played a vital role in advancing improvements and efficiencies in the aquaculture industry. Several highlights include:

  • Groundbreaking solutions like CH4 Global's methane reduction technology using Asparagopsis seaweed.
  • Whakatōhea Mussels producing a 63% higher mussel tonnage through innovation in offshore sea farming, and continuous improvement through research and development helping to establish infrastructure for the aquaculture industry.

Both studies found that government funding supported positive community outcomes through creating sustainable jobs and vital infrastructure that supported local communities and expanded economic opportunities.

The studies concluded that these investments promoted “resilience in communities”, in addition to fostering “prosperous and sustainable” regions through infrastructure and job creation.

Read the reports by Allen + Clarke, and other studies into Kānoa’s impact on regional development:

Studies on our funds and investments