Infrastructure projects

New Zealand needs robust and up to date infrastructure to provide the foundation of economic growth. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has supported such projects to help our regions grow and thrive.

Projects were considered in a New Zealand-wide context against the PGF’s funding criteria.

We also refer to these as Tier 3 investments.

Regional Investment Opportunities

As part of the government’s $12 billion New Zealand Upgrade Programme, $300 million was allocated for Regional Investment Opportunities (RIO), administered by the Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa – RDU).

RIO funding has been invested in land, sea and air projects which will create jobs, enhance regional economic development opportunities, increase infrastructure resilience and help regional economies thrive.

In February 2020, funding of approximately $190 million was announced for projects across New Zealand, including:

  • roading
  • coastal assets
  • upgrades to Taupō and Milford airport terminals.

In May 2020, any funding from this announcement which was still unallocated was reprioritised as part of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) reset.

Read the Regional Investment Opportunities announcement:

Land, air and sea: regions to benefit from NZ Upgrade —

Road transport

Funding for road transport is available through regional land transport plans and the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), the main funding source for land transport initiatives.

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) supported projects where:

  • local authorities could not meet the regional share of investment
  • projects were not prioritised under the NLTP but were strategically important for a region
  • applicants could not secure investment through the NLTP, but whose projects otherwise met the PGF’s criteria and objectives.

The PGF supported projects which were a priority in regional land transport plans and strategic planning.


After the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) was set up in February 2018, Cabinet committed to PGF investment in railways, recognising that rail is a central part of New Zealand’s transport system. It also supported other government objectives, such as the transition to a low carbon economy, and enabled the government to invest quickly in rail projects.

Ports and wharves

Making improvements to regional ports enabled economic growth and tourism opportunities.

Proposals needed to show clear alignment with Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) objectives and criteria and align with the relevant region’s action plan.

The investment focused on the upgrade, repair or extension of existing ports and wharves. It also helped with the construction and installation of essential infrastructure and the local maintenance of large vessels. The investment expanded small-scale projects like local fishing operations, as well as large-scale aquaculture initiatives.


The upgrade of regional airports has helped to boost the tourism sector and keep communities connected.

Proposals in this sector focused on the maintenance and enhancement of existing airports, to keep them safe, secure, resilient and operational. The guiding principles for investment in airports and ports were agreed by Regional Economic Development Ministers in March 2018. They were further updated in May 2019.

Read the Provincial Growth Fund's position on airport proposals:

Position Paper – Airports — MBIE website

COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund – Infrastructure Reference Group (IRG)

To support the economy during the COVID-19 rebuild, $3 billion of infrastructure funding was announced in May 2020 as part of a $50 billion COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

This provided jobs and put fresh capital and confidence into New Zealand’s economic recovery as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Read more about COVID-19 recovery funding

Small scale infrastructure

Under COVID-19, the PGF prioritised infrastructure investments under $20 million and projects already in the pipeline. These included small scale roading and rail, treatment of drinking water, flood water management, earthquake-strengthening, climate adaptation and expansion of small business operations. 

Small scale sustainable water storage and distribution

Water storage is vital for regional development and access to reliable water for land development is key for the primary sector, providing jobs and sustainable growth.

The PGF invested in small-scale sustainable water storage and distribution projects in regions facing water availability limitations.  This contributed to those regions being able to recover from the impact of COVID-19.