A business case boost for Wairoa

Provincial Growth Fund grant of $250,000.

Provincial Growth Fund grant of $250,000.

Wairoa District Council has been awarded $250,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund to help develop business-case applications to the fund and “unlock” the district’s potential.

The council has been working with central government and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to progress identified projects.

The $250,000 grant announced yesterday will enable the council to appoint a local project manager so potential options can be explored, and business cases developed that meet the fund’s performance measures.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Steven May said the potential of Wairoa and its projects had been recognised.

“We have been working behind the scenes to develop projects and business cases, and now with this capability support funding we can investigate options and grow possibilities without it impacting on our ratepayers.”

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the district had received “tremendous support” from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Associate Minister of Primary Industries Meka Whaitiri — both of whom “obviously believe in Wairoa’s potential”.

“The Provincial Growth Fund is a great initiative, but it was difficult for a small council to produce the necessary information and meet the requirements and application criteria necessary to present business cases for consideration.

“This funding will allow us to use experts to put the information together and conduct feasibility studies, and gives us the capability to produce business cases which can then be presented to the Government in the hope of attracting even more investment.

“We are thrilled to have been given this funding as it shows we are on the right track and central government is backing the direction we want to head in . . . we are very appreciative of the support.”

Mr Little commended council staff, saying their quality work had helped secure this vital funding.

Chairwoman of the council’s economic development committee Denise Eaglesome-Karekare said it was fantastic the Government, especially Ministers Jones and Whaitiri, had recognised that the $250,000 capability funding was necessary “to help us build our case” for regional economic development funding.

“Wairoa has so much untapped potential — tourism, trade training, honey, Rocket Lab, this list goes on and these are some of the conversations we are having in our economic development committee as well as council.

“The future is exciting, and we need the community to come with us.”

Business cases that have already been identified include the sealing of State Highway 38 to Lake Waikaremoana and improvements on SH2, both in conjunction with NZTA, development of a railhead in conjunction with KiwiRail, economic potential of unproductive land, bridge strengthening, rural roads, and business support services within Wairoa.

Mr May said the funding boost to develop projects was about central government validating the council’s vision of creating a world-class Wairoa.

“While some projects have already been identified, this funding is not restrictive and will allow us to develop other opportunities and investigate existing and new ideas.

“This is a fantastic first step and recognises a lot of hard work from council staff who have worked closely with MBIE officials to highlight the opportunities that exist.”

The coalition Government’s billion-dollar-a-year Provincial Growth Fund was launched in Gisborne in February and included initial announcements of $5m to reinstate the Wairoa-Napier rail line, $9.2m to boost Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay tourism and forestry opportunities, and $2.3m towards the development of Gisborne’s inner harbour.

Lake Whakaki restoration plans have also benefited with an investment of $100,000 in manuka planting, and $150,000 has been awarded to the Wairoa Community Partnerships Group to launch its Jobshop initiative which aims to energise young people into employment.

Wairoa District Council has been awarded $250,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund to help develop business-case applications to the fund and “unlock” the district’s potential.

The council has been working with central government and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to progress identified projects.

The $250,000 grant announced yesterday will enable the council to appoint a local project manager so potential options can be explored, and business cases developed that meet the fund’s performance measures.

Wairoa District Council chief executive Steven May said the potential of Wairoa and its projects had been recognised.

“We have been working behind the scenes to develop projects and business cases, and now with this capability support funding we can investigate options and grow possibilities without it impacting on our ratepayers.”

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said the district had received “tremendous support” from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Associate Minister of Primary Industries Meka Whaitiri — both of whom “obviously believe in Wairoa’s potential”.

“The Provincial Growth Fund is a great initiative, but it was difficult for a small council to produce the necessary information and meet the requirements and application criteria necessary to present business cases for consideration.

“This funding will allow us to use experts to put the information together and conduct feasibility studies, and gives us the capability to produce business cases which can then be presented to the Government in the hope of attracting even more investment.

“We are thrilled to have been given this funding as it shows we are on the right track and central government is backing the direction we want to head in . . . we are very appreciative of the support.”

Mr Little commended council staff, saying their quality work had helped secure this vital funding.

Chairwoman of the council’s economic development committee Denise Eaglesome-Karekare said it was fantastic the Government, especially Ministers Jones and Whaitiri, had recognised that the $250,000 capability funding was necessary “to help us build our case” for regional economic development funding.

“Wairoa has so much untapped potential — tourism, trade training, honey, Rocket Lab, this list goes on and these are some of the conversations we are having in our economic development committee as well as council.

“The future is exciting, and we need the community to come with us.”

Business cases that have already been identified include the sealing of State Highway 38 to Lake Waikaremoana and improvements on SH2, both in conjunction with NZTA, development of a railhead in conjunction with KiwiRail, economic potential of unproductive land, bridge strengthening, rural roads, and business support services within Wairoa.

Mr May said the funding boost to develop projects was about central government validating the council’s vision of creating a world-class Wairoa.

“While some projects have already been identified, this funding is not restrictive and will allow us to develop other opportunities and investigate existing and new ideas.

“This is a fantastic first step and recognises a lot of hard work from council staff who have worked closely with MBIE officials to highlight the opportunities that exist.”

The coalition Government’s billion-dollar-a-year Provincial Growth Fund was launched in Gisborne in February and included initial announcements of $5m to reinstate the Wairoa-Napier rail line, $9.2m to boost Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay tourism and forestry opportunities, and $2.3m towards the development of Gisborne’s inner harbour.

Lake Whakaki restoration plans have also benefited with an investment of $100,000 in manuka planting, and $150,000 has been awarded to the Wairoa Community Partnerships Group to launch its Jobshop initiative which aims to energise young people into employment.

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