Funding for local business will help unlock regional potential

Published: Oct 14, 2019

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  • News and announcements
  • Gisborne/Tairāwhiti

Local businesses understand their regions and how to do business there, says the Chief Executive of Tairāwhiti-based business LeaderBrand.

Following the announcement of a PGF loan of $15m to the horticulture business Richard Burke said encouraging non-local businesses to relocate didn’t work as they usually don’t stay.

“If you want real economic development, then supporting local businesses is the best way to do it. We're here because we know how to do business here," he said.

LeaderBrand has been part of the Gisborne region for over 40 years and has a vision to make Gisborne the New Zealand capital for fresh produce.

“This is a vision built on the natural advantages of a region that will drive strong growth for local businesses, as well as higher wages and more jobs,” Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said.

Mr Burke said the support for LeaderBrand would give the Tairāwhiti region long-term economic hope by unlocking the value of local businesses.

The funding will be used to help build large greenhouses, which will mean LeaderBrand can produce salad vegetables all year round, increase the production from their salad processing plant and add another 50 jobs throughout the company.

The new greenhouses will also protect crops against severe weather while reducing environmental impacts for water and fertiliser use.

LeaderBrand has already invested in a high-spec salad factory which uses the latest equipment from Europe. This has taken their salad business to a new level of compliance, food safety and quality.

Over the past five years the output from Gisborne salad has increased 240 percent and now fills 3.6 trucks a day.

LeaderBrand has about 3500ha under cultivation at Gisborne, Pukekohe, Matamata and Chertsey, near Ashburton. The company grows broccoli, squash, corn, asparagus, cabbages, spinach, kale, beetroot and lettuce and employs about 400 FTEs.