Provincial Growth Fund reset helps regional economies
Published: Jun 3, 2020 · Updated: Dec 1, 2020
At least $600 million of Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) money will be used to support regional economies as they recover from COVID-19.
The funding is repurposed Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) money and unallocated funding from the Regional Investment Opportunities Contingency.
The refocused PGF has three clear objectives:
- Jobs – investments must create immediate redeployment and new employment opportunities and income growth. This adjusted criteria will see investments in skills programmes, sectors and infrastructure which will support regional economies as they change in the wake of COVID-19.
- Timelines – projects will need to be contracted and underway as soon as possible. The special Resource Management powers made available during the recovery will be used to ensure projects can progress quickly.
- Visibility – PGF projects need to be visible and active to give people in regions confidence that our social and economic recovery is underway.
New projects to be funded include up to $100 million for waterway fencing, riparian planting and stock water reticulation, $60 million for road and rail investments and up to $70 million for upgrades of marae, town halls, Pasifika churches and war memorials.
The funding for waterway improvement will support farmers to fence off sensitive waterways from stock.
The local roading and rail projects will be spread across Bay of Plenty, Manawatū-Whanganui, West Coast, Wairarapa, Taranaki, Top of the South and Waikato and will include footpaths, cycleways, playgrounds, vegetation management and roadside clearing. This funding will create at least 600 jobs.
The rail projects will fund deferred maintenance like culvert cleaning and drainage improvements in regional New Zealand, which will create 200 jobs.
Renovating marae, town halls, Pasifika churches and war memorials will provide work for local tradies and contractors and is an opportunity to target Māori, Pasifika and other vulnerable workers who are not able to secure work through more substantial infrastructure projects.
There PGF’s adjusted criteria has given additional weight and emphasis to certain sectors – those that are central to regional economies and will continue to be core to the economy through the rebuild phase.
The focus is on the next two to six months but projects that provide longer term economic benefits, support productivity and strengthen critical infrastructure in the surge regions will remain a priority for investment.
In addition there are some changes to the PDU’s contracting process to speed up the process of getting money out of the door. Four additional projects have also had PGF funding announced:
- $2.9 million for Apollo Foods Ltd in Hawke’s Bay for new technology and to upskill workers to increase productivity and capability.
- $2.5 million for an upgrade to Raglan Wharf to increase berth numbers and improve access for commercial operators, recreational users, and customers visiting the retail and hospitality businesses that could operate there.
- $1.86 million to redevelop the Westport waterfront with a pedestrian and cycle bridge from the town centre to the riverfront. This will provide greater access to another PGF-funded project, the Kawatiri Coastal trail, and will allow trail related businesses close access to the town centre.
- $209,500 for Otago engineering firm Te Pari Products to buy equipment that will increase its capacity to supply the primary sector with quality livestock-handling equipment.