Sector-based projects

Tier 2

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) invested in projects across key sectors to support growth in the regions and attract business and private investment. These sectors included manufacturing and engineering, energy, food and beverage, aquaculture, forestry and wood processing and tourism.

We also refer to these as Tier 2 investments.

Projects needed to align with the PGF’s objectives and create employment and training opportunities.

The PGF was repurposed in May 2020, with at least $600 million refocused to projects with more immediate economic benefits. This was part of New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery.

Sector investments were revised to also include:

  • Immediate capital investments
  • Māori and Pasifika Investment

PGF reset helps regional economies —

PGF Position Paper — Tier 2 Sector Investments

Food and beverage

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) focused its investment on food innovation. This included supporting the processing and manufacturing of food items and the sustainable use of land, infrastructure and technology to increase production.

Projects supported by the fund ranged from upskilling and training in the horticulture and agriculture industries, to the creation of collaborative environments to develop new food products bolstering the industry and the creation of employment so crucial for the regional economy.

The PGF supported projects which:

  • sought co-investment in value-added food and beverage processing and manufacturing; including support for regions to process and package regionally-grown produce that can be sold at a premium
  • provided formal and informal training, mentoring, and work experience to local workers for the skills required in the region now and in the future
  • supported higher-productivity and sustainable use of land, such as lifting the productivity of Māori-owned land and supporting land conversions to higher-value crops, with lower environmental impacts. 

Read about a PGF-supported food and beverage project:

PGF supports artificial intelligence and high end food development in Top of the South


The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) prioritised investment in regional infrastructure in response to high-value tourism growth. The PGF invested in projects which:

  • encouraged year-round tourism to an increased number of regions
  • reduced existing pressure on tourism infrastructure, particularly in communities which lacked local funding capacity
  • added value to the tourism and visitor economy
  • enhanced productivity of tourism businesses, drove innovation and supported professional tourism career development
  • improved the sustainability of the industry or assisted the industry’s transition to a low-emission footprint
  • developed Māori cultural assets.

Proposals ranged from the construction of artistic, historical and cultural installations to centres catering for increased domestic and international travellers.

Read about a PGF-supported tourism project: 

PGF supports new visitor experience centres on the West Coast

To reduce the impacts of COVID-19, the Tourism Minister announced a $400 million targeted Tourism Recovery Fund which included the Tourism Transitions Programme and Digital Capability. The package provides support at a business-level.

Cabinet agreed that the Provincial Development Unit (PDU) should administer funding under the Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme (STAPP). This is one of the key initiatives supporting regional level tourism.

Read more about the STAPP allocation: 

Strategic Tourism Assets Protection Programme — MBIE

Forestry and wood processing

Forestry plays an important role in most regional economic action plans and regional land transport plans.

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) invested in projects that:

  • supported Māori to achieve forestry-related economic
  • created safe and rewarding jobs in forestry
  • delivered positive environmental outcomes through strengthening the domestic market
  • provided wood products for domestic to aid recycling,
  • encouraged greener construction alternatives
  • supported projects where Māori cultural development is a key component
  • supported security of supply for wood processors.

The Government developed the One Billion Trees programme to increase the rate of tree planting across New Zealand; working towards the goal of one billion trees planted by 2028. This programme’s benefits range from the diversification of our forests through the planting of native and exotic trees, to the support of local communities. The programme targets employment for Māori and Pasifika communities, supports Māori aspirations for land use and controls erosion to improve water quality. The Provincial Development Unit has partnered with Te Uru Rākau Forestry New Zealand to administer funding for projects that meet this criteria, whilst wider forestry sector initiatives are supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

To help the industry recover from COVID-19, the PGF supported businesses to maintain production levels and retain their workforce. Read about some of the PGF-supported forestry and wood processing projects: 

Practical safety initiative focused on transformational change

PGF Position Paper: Wood Processing investments — MBIE


Aquaculture produces seafood and products that embody New Zealand’s brand: sustainable, healthy and highly valued.

Global demand for premium seafood is high and is expected to grow. New Zealand’s aquaculture industry is well placed to help meet this demand and do so in a sustainable way.

The aquaculture industry, as of 2020, generates more than $600 million in annual sales and has a strong record of growth. There are opportunities for further development through innovation and sustainable practices. There is an opportunity for the aquaculture industry to reach $3 billion in annual sales by 2035. 

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) made several investments to support the transformation of the aquaculture industry, bring forward job and income opportunities and support New Zealand’s economic recovery post COVID-19.

Read about a PGF-supported aquaculture project: 

Ōpōtiki celebrates regional economic investment

Digital connectivity

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) partnered with Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to connect communities and improve digital infrastructure in regional New Zealand.

This investment has helped rural communities stay connected to the rest of the country. The PGF invested in four digital connection programmes:

  • Marae Connectivity: installation of broadband networks, hardware and technical support to connect the marae of regional New Zealand.
  • Regional Digital Hubs: establishment of hubs which provide a range of digital services and equipment
  • RBI2 and MBSF expansion: extension of the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 (RBI2) and Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF).
  • West Coast of South Island connectivity: construction of the Haast Fibre Loop and Milford Highway Fibre Connection, extending mobile coverage on the West Coast and accelerating Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) towns on the West Coast. 

Marae connectivity

Connecting marae has opened up business and education opportunities in communities. It has also helped whānau to stay in touch with one another and connect with their iwi. 

The PDU worked alongside Te Puni Kōkiri (TPK) to assess proposals and identify the marae that were eligible for digital connection funding.

Marae Digital Connectivity — Te Puni Kōkiri

Read about a PGF-supported marae connectivity project: 

PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa

To learn more about marae connectivity or discuss eligibility, email the Provincial Growth Fund on

Regional Digital Hubs

Regional Digital Hubs provide key digital services. These often include free Wi-Fi, co-working spaces for business and council activities, event spaces, support for technical activity and guidance on the use of the internet for business purposes.

They have been primarily established in the Provincial Growth Funds (PGF)’s surge regions - Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Coast / Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui and the West Coast.

Read about a PGF-supported Regional Digital Hub: 

Small businesses in Ruapehu district backed by $400,000 PGF boost

Rural Broadband Initiative Phase 2 and Mobile Black Spot Fund

Remote areas of New Zealand received greater internet and mobile coverage through the Rural Broadband Initiative phase 2 (RBI2) and Mobile Black Spot Fund (MBSF) expansion.

These investments were focused in surge regions.

South Island connectivity

Investment in digital connectivity for the West Coast and Milford aims to extend and improved mobile coverage and accelerate Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) connections for rural communities.

The Haast Fibre Loop (installed between Fox Glacier and Lake Hawea) and the Milford Highway Fibre Connection into Milford Sound will provide bandwidth into both areas. This will support increased data through mobile towers under the RBI2/MBSF programme.

Read more about a project enhancing regional connectivity in the West Coast and Southland:

Better digital connectivity coming for West Coast and Southland —

For help, advice, and support with applying for funding, get in touch with our advisors. Email Call us on 0508 743 473

Published: 16 October, 2020