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Central Hawke's Bay gets $40 million boost to roading, water storage infrastructure

Central Hawke's Bay is set to get a $40 million funding boost, with the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investing in roading and water storage infrastructure to help primary industry growth in the region.

Parliamentary Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced several initiatives for the region in Waipukurau today.

The initiatives include an upgrade to Route 52 Waipukurau to Porangahau ($20,100,000), investment in Hawke’s Bay Water's Tukituki Project ($14,700,000), Central Hawke’s Bay upgrades to meet High Productivity Motor Vehicles standards ($350,000), Dannevirke Rail Hub Evaluation and Construction ($4,400,000), Ngā Ara Tipuna - Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project ($119,764) and exploring Central Hawke’s Bay economic development opportunities ($272,640).

"Today's announcements are exciting news for the Central Hawke’s Bay region that will provide a massive boost to economic growth," Mr Tabuteau says.

"The upgrade of Route 52 from Waipukurau to Porangahau is part of a wider Hawke's Bay transport package aimed at helping lift the productivity of the region through roading improvements."

The kiwifruit industry is looking to expand its planting to exceed 100 hectares per year over the next five to seven years, and an increase in logging is predicted by 2028.

"To support this growth, producers need a reliable roading infrastructure, as well as water, to connect producers to their market," he says. 

"The primary sector is a principal driver of the Hawke’s Bay economy, ranging from intensive horticulture to pastoral farming and forestry – and there’s a lot of growth expected in the coming years."

Mr Tabuteau also says the sustainability of freshwater supplies is "critical". The Tukituki water project will enable the development of an environmentally sustainable and reliable water supply to existing industry and primary sector water users, and provide additional water for further growth opportunities.

Both the Heretaunga and Tukituki water projects will ensure enough water is stored for use when water supplies are low over summer.

"The initiative also has the potential to create jobs in the future and unlock the opportunities to develop unproductive Māori land across the region," Mr Tabuteau says.

He added, Dannevirke is a perfect location for a rail hub as it lies close to the Hawke’s Bay boundary and major plantations, including Titoki Forest.

"A new rail hub at Dannevirke could remove a considerable amount of logging and other freight from local roads in the future, especially with the expected growth in forestry," he says.

The Provincial Development Unit is in discussions with KiwiRail about this proposal.

Central Hawke's Bay. Source: istock.com