Minister for Regional Economic Development announces investments in regions
The government's $1b fund to reinvest into the regions has been launched.
The billion-dollar plan was key to striking a coalition deal between Labour and NZ First.
Early funding has been marked for tourism, forestry and infrastructure in five regions.
Here's what the package, at this stage, looks like:
Funding destined for Northland is set to help build two cultural centres, a tourism hub and a forestry project.
Hawke’s Bay will receive assistance to reopen the Wairoa-Napier line.
The Whanganui port and town's rail line is also et to get a facelift while the west coast will develop two new trails.
Meanwhile at today's launch in Gisborne, tourism, forestry and agricultural projects are all in line for an injection of funding as well.
Under the regional economic announcements yesterday, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says the Gisborne and Hawke's Bay areas will receive $9.2 million to invest in tourism ventures infrastructure and a new wood mill.
“In fairness to Gisborne, they've been waiting that long. And some of their projects they've been waiting right back to the time when I was a minister of Helen so I wouldn't want to get too petty.”
Minister Shane Jones also highlighted that 49% of the population there is Māori.
“Āe take tērā ō mātou i tatū mai ai ki konei, Ngāti Porou, Horouta Waka, ngā iwi ririki e tāmi ana, he whenua nui kei a rātou, he iti noa iho te hua e puta ana.”
The PM says that this announcement is a part of keeping an election campaign promise, one which is a high priority.
“I'm absolutely happy with the mechanisms that we've got in place to balance two key things, One, the ability to yes make robust decisions that have a business case behind them but also to make sure that we move more quickly than government perhaps has in the past.”
Outside of Gisborne, the rail line between Wairoa and Napier is to re-open to enable rail movement of pine wood.
However, Jones says the Gisborne line itself, however, remains closed.
“We're not writing Gisborne rail out of the script. But I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say today I have not been presented with that case. There's political will to back rail but there's also an acknowledgement that ports and coastal shipping are equal.”
And so the important task at hand for these regions is to ensure funding is used wisely to ensure maximum return on investment.