PGF investments secure a better future for Northland
Published: Feb 7, 2020 · Updated: Dec 1, 2020
The last day of January was a great day for Kaipara District Mayor Dr Jason Smith and for his district. On that day three Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) announcements helped make a better future for Kaipara and the people that live there.
Two announcements related to securing the water supply needed to enable local land owners to make better use of their elite soils to develop strong agriculture and horticulture industries.
Water is critical for Northland’s economy and wellbeing but is increasingly under threat from floods and drought, declining rainfall and river flows and rising temperatures.
Dr Smith says water is “absolutely the key to Kaipara’s future”.
“We have the largest piece of elite soils north of Auckland, but no water stored to support growing high value crops. We want to build a future with agriculture and horticulture but that revolves around water storage.”
Up to $12.745 million of PGF funding will mean two water storage projects- the Northland Regional Council’s “Northland Water Storage and Use” project and Kaipara District Council’s “Kai for Kaipara” water project – can begin construction.
The funding builds on the $18.5 million PGF investment made in 2019 to help Northland Regional Council progress pre-feasibility work for water storage projects in the Kaipara and mid-North regions.
The Northland water storage project will store water during peak flow times to use during dry periods, to allow sustainable agriculture and horticulture through a reliable supply of freshwater.
The Kai for Kaipara project will demonstrate a model that will give local landowners and external investors confidence that they can transition to high-value horticulture once a sustainable water supply is in place.
And as if that wasn’t enough to make Dr Smith’s day the PGF also announced it will invest $4 million to enable the Kaipara District Council to upgrade the Dargaville pontoon in the first step to improve the wharves on Kaipara Harbour.
The new pontoon will improve access to the harbour and grow tourism and other commercial activities. It will mean growing numbers of local and international tourists will have better access to Kaipara Harbour’s world-famous fish and bird habitat.
The investment follows earlier funding for Kaipara District Council to analyse its harbour infrastructure and ferry transport.