Government economic package laid out

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says still more significant funding to come.

Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says still more significant funding to come.

PLANNING FOR FUTURE MINDS: Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges talks to Taonga Hicks, left, and Michael Wilson about robotics’ capabilities at the Gisborne Mind Lab facility yesterday. He visited as part of a tour of facilities and resources capable of boosting economic growth here. Picture by Paul Rickard

FOLLOWING yesterday’s launch of the Government’s new Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan that commits $7.3 million of government investment into economic growth programmes here, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says there is still “more significant” funding to come.

The Government yesterday released the long-awaited Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan (He Huarahi Hei Whai Oranga) which lays out a 54-point action plan that outlines that by 2021, if everyone works “hard together”, the region would have benefited from $68.6m in capital investment, a 12 percent increase in regional GDP, a 25 percent increase in processing and value-added production and 1220 new jobs created.

Speaking to the Gisborne Herald, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said yesterday’s announcements could be seen as a “down-payment” on what the Government would deliver following the completion of a transport study at the end of the year.

That subsequent funding flowing on from that study, would be funding on a “more significant” level.

“In terms of transport, what this plan is showing is both forward intent and a sense of how we are going to do that.”

Mr Bridges said the plan laid out an order for investment to progress.

“There is a lot of advocacy in relation to State Highway 2 but, more particularly, in relation to SH 35 and I get that but we want to make sure we are making the right interventions in that area to really help the freight task that’s growing, help with the commuter and tourist tasks that are growing.

“All in all, it shows a great sense of intent but also a down-payment of what we intend to do here. My sense is, from preliminary talks with the NZ Transport Agency which will do the plan, is that the kinds of things they are thinking about are widening, some bridge-work.

Not only was there was a commitment to produce the plan by the end of the year but yesterday’s launch revealed a series of projects that could be started now.

Projects to start this year

Mr Bridges said all three projects would start this year.

Those projects were a $700,000 upgrade of existing rest area facilities and the construction of up to five new facilities along the 320km SH35.

The new rest area facilities would consist of sealed parking areas, themed seating and tables, signage and maps profiling the area and themed planting.

The theme would provide a consistent look and feel throughout the route, enabling clear profiling through tourism channels and easy identification on site.

Funding of $500,000 would help to seal the East Cape Road and replace the Horoera Bridge leading to the historic East Cape lighthouse, with a single-lane concrete bridge.

‘The bridge there has been out action for over a year now, with a Bailey bridge in its place on an unsealed road. That’s already popular with tourists and it can become even more popular.”

Funding of $400,000 to pay for a 7km link between State Highway 2 and the Rere Falls Heartland Ride and the Motu Great Ride, which forms part of the NZ Cycle Trail.

Mr Bridges dismissed the Labour Party’s regional development plans for the region, which would co-invest in a $20 million prefabricated housing materials plant should Labour win the upcoming election.

“Labour’s announcement was simply one project, thought up quite quickly. What we have is a comprehensive plan that is not just in one area. What is also important is unlike Labour’s announcement, this one has been one that has come to fruition over more than a year, with deep involvement from local communities.

“That should give the people of Gisborne very high confidence that we can achieve what we are saying we will.”

“This is more than one project — this is comprehensive, it’s across all manner of sectors whether you are talking about apiculture, viticulture, transport or broadband.”

Upgrade of SH2’s inter-regional connections

Other transport-related tasks in the released plan included an upgrade of SH2’s inter-regional connections between Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay through Tairawhiti, for horticulture and tourism — to be completed by December 2021.

Renovation of the Gisborne airport terminal to update it and accommodate larger numbers of people should be completed by August 2019.

The plan envisions attracting a combined investment of $22.6m in wood processing, an aquifer recharge and regional apiculture by 2022, which it is believed could increase regional GDP by $210m a year within the same time frame.

Part of those plans would involve completion of a business study to make a case for bringing a manuka honey centre of excellence to the region and establishing the East Coast as New Zealand’s “premiere” producer of manuka honey

It was intended the plan would further build on ongoing work in the region.

That included Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou efforts to progress an East Coast wood logistics solution. The project would look at options for a wood processing facility on the East Coast (as well as transport alternatives), estimated to be between 200-600 tonnes per annum.

“Early feasibility work indicates the wood logistics solution could result in the creation of 150-plus jobs and inject $100m into the East Coast economy annually,” the plan said.

Increase tourism

The plan also aimed to increase tourism revenue here by $6.5m a year, creating 40 new jobs along the way.

Tourism-related tasks also include a desire to complete feasibility studies on options for a Motu cycle trail extension, a Te Puia hot springs/wellness centre, as well as options for extending Oneroa heritage walkway from Midway to Te Kura a Paoa Young Nick’s Head and beyond — and providing visitor services at East Cape lighthouse.

All those should be completed by December next year, while a feasibility study into creating a Gisborne-Napier cycle trail should be completed by the end of this year.

As part of “re-engineering’’ Activate Tairawhiti, the regional economic development agency, specific processes to build Maori tourism would be implemented — including setting up a specific specialist Maori tourism arm.

Minister for Culture Maggie Barry announced the Government would provide $2m towards upcoming Te Ha commemorations.

“The region is developing initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings between James Cook, Tahitian navigator Tupaia and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa. The Government is willing to contribute up to $2 million alongside local Government,” Ms Barry said.

“This commemoration from October to December 2019 provides an excellent tourism opportunity and we look forward to supporting the region in acknowledging these significant encounters.”

A review of GDC policy surrounding the use of financial incentives for economic development should be completed by July next year.

FOLLOWING yesterday’s launch of the Government’s new Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan that commits $7.3 million of government investment into economic growth programmes here, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges says there is still “more significant” funding to come.

The Government yesterday released the long-awaited Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan (He Huarahi Hei Whai Oranga) which lays out a 54-point action plan that outlines that by 2021, if everyone works “hard together”, the region would have benefited from $68.6m in capital investment, a 12 percent increase in regional GDP, a 25 percent increase in processing and value-added production and 1220 new jobs created.

Speaking to the Gisborne Herald, Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said yesterday’s announcements could be seen as a “down-payment” on what the Government would deliver following the completion of a transport study at the end of the year.

That subsequent funding flowing on from that study, would be funding on a “more significant” level.

“In terms of transport, what this plan is showing is both forward intent and a sense of how we are going to do that.”

Mr Bridges said the plan laid out an order for investment to progress.

“There is a lot of advocacy in relation to State Highway 2 but, more particularly, in relation to SH 35 and I get that but we want to make sure we are making the right interventions in that area to really help the freight task that’s growing, help with the commuter and tourist tasks that are growing.

“All in all, it shows a great sense of intent but also a down-payment of what we intend to do here. My sense is, from preliminary talks with the NZ Transport Agency which will do the plan, is that the kinds of things they are thinking about are widening, some bridge-work.

Not only was there was a commitment to produce the plan by the end of the year but yesterday’s launch revealed a series of projects that could be started now.

Projects to start this year

Mr Bridges said all three projects would start this year.

Those projects were a $700,000 upgrade of existing rest area facilities and the construction of up to five new facilities along the 320km SH35.

The new rest area facilities would consist of sealed parking areas, themed seating and tables, signage and maps profiling the area and themed planting.

The theme would provide a consistent look and feel throughout the route, enabling clear profiling through tourism channels and easy identification on site.

Funding of $500,000 would help to seal the East Cape Road and replace the Horoera Bridge leading to the historic East Cape lighthouse, with a single-lane concrete bridge.

‘The bridge there has been out action for over a year now, with a Bailey bridge in its place on an unsealed road. That’s already popular with tourists and it can become even more popular.”

Funding of $400,000 to pay for a 7km link between State Highway 2 and the Rere Falls Heartland Ride and the Motu Great Ride, which forms part of the NZ Cycle Trail.

Mr Bridges dismissed the Labour Party’s regional development plans for the region, which would co-invest in a $20 million prefabricated housing materials plant should Labour win the upcoming election.

“Labour’s announcement was simply one project, thought up quite quickly. What we have is a comprehensive plan that is not just in one area. What is also important is unlike Labour’s announcement, this one has been one that has come to fruition over more than a year, with deep involvement from local communities.

“That should give the people of Gisborne very high confidence that we can achieve what we are saying we will.”

“This is more than one project — this is comprehensive, it’s across all manner of sectors whether you are talking about apiculture, viticulture, transport or broadband.”

Upgrade of SH2’s inter-regional connections

Other transport-related tasks in the released plan included an upgrade of SH2’s inter-regional connections between Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay through Tairawhiti, for horticulture and tourism — to be completed by December 2021.

Renovation of the Gisborne airport terminal to update it and accommodate larger numbers of people should be completed by August 2019.

The plan envisions attracting a combined investment of $22.6m in wood processing, an aquifer recharge and regional apiculture by 2022, which it is believed could increase regional GDP by $210m a year within the same time frame.

Part of those plans would involve completion of a business study to make a case for bringing a manuka honey centre of excellence to the region and establishing the East Coast as New Zealand’s “premiere” producer of manuka honey

It was intended the plan would further build on ongoing work in the region.

That included Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou efforts to progress an East Coast wood logistics solution. The project would look at options for a wood processing facility on the East Coast (as well as transport alternatives), estimated to be between 200-600 tonnes per annum.

“Early feasibility work indicates the wood logistics solution could result in the creation of 150-plus jobs and inject $100m into the East Coast economy annually,” the plan said.

Increase tourism

The plan also aimed to increase tourism revenue here by $6.5m a year, creating 40 new jobs along the way.

Tourism-related tasks also include a desire to complete feasibility studies on options for a Motu cycle trail extension, a Te Puia hot springs/wellness centre, as well as options for extending Oneroa heritage walkway from Midway to Te Kura a Paoa Young Nick’s Head and beyond — and providing visitor services at East Cape lighthouse.

All those should be completed by December next year, while a feasibility study into creating a Gisborne-Napier cycle trail should be completed by the end of this year.

As part of “re-engineering’’ Activate Tairawhiti, the regional economic development agency, specific processes to build Maori tourism would be implemented — including setting up a specific specialist Maori tourism arm.

Minister for Culture Maggie Barry announced the Government would provide $2m towards upcoming Te Ha commemorations.

“The region is developing initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the first meetings between James Cook, Tahitian navigator Tupaia and the tangata whenua of Aotearoa. The Government is willing to contribute up to $2 million alongside local Government,” Ms Barry said.

“This commemoration from October to December 2019 provides an excellent tourism opportunity and we look forward to supporting the region in acknowledging these significant encounters.”

A review of GDC policy surrounding the use of financial incentives for economic development should be completed by July next year.

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