Government's $1 billion regional growth fund: First recipients announced, so who gets what?

The Government has announced the first regional projects to be funded under an election promise to pour $1 billion per year, in their first term, into regional development projects to drive growth in the provinces.

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

In a series of announcements this morning, Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development, says the Government has committed to backing projects in Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Manawatu-Whanganui and West Coast, identifying the areas as regions needing "early investment", and having been neglected by the previous government.

Today's announcements will see $61.7 million going into forestry initiatives, tourism ventures, rail and roading projects. The projects will create more than 700 direct jobs, and 80 indirect jobs, according to the Government.

"Our first regional packages support the regions most neglected by the last government," Mr Jones said.

The Government has announced the first regional projects to be funded under an election promise to pour $1 billion per year Source: 1 NEWS

"The first of many projects the PGF will support will create more than 700 direct jobs, and 80 indirect jobs - an impressive start to what will be an exciting three years for our provinces."

That includes $17m towards tourism and infrastructure in Northland, $9.2m towards for tourism in Gisborne, funding to help revitalise Whanganui Port, and $1m for two "Great Rides" bike trails on the West Coast.

Separately, Cabinet had approved a review into moving Ports of Auckland north as part of a wider look at Northland's transport, Mr Jones said.

Regional rail is also set to get a modest boost, with $8.75m allocated to reopening the Wairoa-to-Napier train line and upgrading Whanganui's line, and funding for studies in three other projects.

"These are relatively modest investments in dollar terms, but we expect them to deliver good value and to support regional businesses," Mr Jones said.

The rest of the $3b allocated to the fund over three years will be open to the regions for proposals, with an independent panel appointed to help the government where it should go.

"Our provinces are full of ideas and proposals. I have been heartened by the aspirations of so many businesses and investors, local councils, iwi, and community groups and I'm pleased to say that we now have a mechanism to see these realised," Mr Jones.

The regional fund was part of New Zealand First's coalition agreement with the Labour Party as was the Ports of Auckland review.

Spending announced today


Logging truck on New Zealand road.
Logging truck on New Zealand road. Source:

Northland will receive $17 million to "help create jobs, address infrastructure deficits, diversify the regional economy and enhance the tourism opportunities".

They include: two cultural centres in Opononi and Whangarei, a tōtara industry pilot to explore a new market in the forestry sector, the construction of a new tourism hub in Kawakawa and a long-awaited roading project.

There will be more Northland announcements in the coming weeks.

Gisborne/East Coast

Gisborne/East Coast will receive $2.3 million to redevelop the Gisborne Inner Harbour, $1 million towards tourism projects in Tairāwhiti, $200,000 to kick start the creation of a "$20 million Wood Processing Centre of Excellence in Gisborne", $100,000 to establish a Mānuka plantation in Wairoa and $543,000 for the next stage of the Makauri Managed Aquifer Recharge trial in Gisborne.

Hawke's Bay  

Hawke's Bay will receive $5 million for KiwiRail to reopen the Wairoa-Napier line, which will take 5,700 trucks off the road each year.

West Coast

The West Coast will receive $1 million for the development of two new Great Rides – the West Coast Wilderness Trail and the Old Ghost Rd trail, $100,000 to help Punakaiki develop a much-needed master plan to future-proof the township and $350,000 to assist in understanding the opportunity of a waste-to-energy plant in the Buller District.


The fund came out of the coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First. Source: 1 NEWS

'My god she can run' - woman at centre of hilarious Kawakawa dog escape video says Lily is enjoying her 15 minutes of fame

A Bay of Islands woman told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp she is "never going to live this down" after footage of her rescue dog Lily dragging a bakery's flag down the main street of Kawakawa went viral around the globe.

CCTV footage of the freedom-seeking furball's runner — accompanied by Yakety Sax, the song made famous by the Benny Hill Show — has been viewed more than 500,000 times since it was posted to Facebook last night.

Lucie Green, a volunteer with Bay of Islands Animal Rescue, was taking the basset hound for a walk last week when she decided to stop at a local business to buy Lily a treat.

But the Basset Hound received a fright and bolted despite being tied to a large Coca-Cola flag forcing Lucie to give chase.

"For an animal with just little legs, my god she can run," Lucie told Seven Sharp.

Lily, Lucie and the rogue flag brought Kawakawa's State Highway 1 strip to a standstill, the whole escapade captured on CCTV.

"My partner owns a local CCTV company I got to the office and I told him what had happened.

"He didn't tell me he'd done it, but he edited footage and put the music on and uploaded it to Facebook and tagged me in it.

"I knew it was trouble when basically by the time we'd gone to bed last night it had hit 100,000 views," Lucie said.

Thousands of people have since commented on the video, with many of them admiring the dog’s spirit.

"I'm laughing my guts out it's so funny," wrote Facebook user Annie Hicks.

Lucie does see the funny side of events however.

"They say every dog has their day, so I guess Lily is enjoying her 15 mins of fame." 

Lily made a run for it when owner Lucie Green stopped at a shop in the Northland town. Source: Seven Sharp


Tracking down New Plymouth youth MP candidates after Andrew Little's 'hip' appeal

Labour MP Andrew Little released a tongue in cheek video encouraging young people from New Plymouth to get involved in politics today.

The video inspired TVNZ1's Seven Sharp to travel to Mr Little's old school to find the perfect candidate for its new youth MP.

Judge for yourself if New Plymouth Boys' High students Thomas Foy and Jarrod Wilson have what it takes in the video above.

Tamati Rimene-Sproat is on the case after the Labour MP's piece of political theatre. Source: Seven Sharp


Watch: Take a tour inside Kate Sheppard’s former house where suffragists worked to get women the right to vote

Suffragist Kate Sheppard's old house in Christchurch goes up for auction next month - so Seven Sharp host Hilary Barry took a tour.

Ms Sheppard was instrumental in gaining New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893. She carried out important work for the suffrage movement in the house during the late 19th Century.

Today saw celebrations around the country marking 125 years since women gained the right to vote in New Zealand.

Jacinda Ardern has indicated the Government is interested in buying the house for the nation. It's expected to fetch in excess of $3 million when it goes under the hammer on October 17.

Hilary Barry met with the home's current owner Julia Burbury who showed her around the dwelling set on one acre of gardens.

The house has a category one heritage listing.

The piece of New Zealand history in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million, is up for auction. Source: Seven Sharp

Mum distraught as son turned away from Hutt Valley High School because he didn't have permanent address

Being homeless has become an obstacle for one mother wanting to give her child an education.

Helen Taitapanui and her son were turned away from Hutt Valley High School last week because they don't have a permanent residential address.

Ms Taitapanui, is currently battling cancer and lives in a motel with her teenage son while they wait for a permanent home.

"We've got to be glad that we've got that when we know that a lot of our families are out there living in cars," Ms Taitapanui told 1 NEWS.

However, this was a problem when she tried to enrol her son at a local school.

"The response was it's against their policy to register children living out of a motel. you had to have a residential address," Ms Taitapanui said.

She complained to the Ministry of Education and shortly after Hutt Valley High School reversed its decision.

Ms Taitapanui says her son's excited about going back to school.

"I know once he steps back into the realm of education he'll be well and truly away."

She hopes by speaking out, another unnecessary obstacle will be removed for the homeless.

Being homeless threw up an unexpected obstacle for a mum wanting to educate her child. Source: 1 NEWS