Not a $3 billion grant programme

EDITORIAL

A Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)presentation for business and community leaders yesterday gave fresh insights to this evolving investment programme that has just delivered in spades for Tairawhiti, with $152.7 million announced a week ago for roading, tourism projects and some other economic development initiatives here.

The event was put on by PGF “partners” professional services firm PwC and the Bank of New Zealand, which itself illustrates a key point made during the presentation — that the fund is not a $3 billion grant programme, but is rather an investment fund and proposals put to its decision-makers need to have a lot of rigour around them, as well as regional support.

And naturally plenty of proposals have been submitted, close to $2 billion worth, with more than half of them processed and about $600m of funding now committed.

The priorities of the fund are to enhance economic development opportunities in the provinces, create sustainable jobs, enable Maori to reach their full potential (this was stressed as a major focus for the fund), boost social inclusion and participation, build resilient communities, and help meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.

All provinces are eligible for funding and Tairawhiti is one of six “surge” regions identified as needing early investment.

NZ First deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau, who is undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, expressed his passion for boosting the provinces and being part of a Government that is helping deliver on that goal through the PGF.

The PwC and BNZ representatives explained how they can help develop business proposals and, from the bank’s perspective, loan money alongside equity from the applicant to help attract top-up PGF funding — which could be via a grant, loan or equity investment.

PGF representatives stressed that proposals were all measured against the same criteria, however something funded for one region might not be for another as regional needs and opportunities were different. It was about pitching the possibilities right, being smart with applications and also putting a lot of work into them. PGF decision-making was also evolving.

A Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)presentation for business and community leaders yesterday gave fresh insights to this evolving investment programme that has just delivered in spades for Tairawhiti, with $152.7 million announced a week ago for roading, tourism projects and some other economic development initiatives here.

The event was put on by PGF “partners” professional services firm PwC and the Bank of New Zealand, which itself illustrates a key point made during the presentation — that the fund is not a $3 billion grant programme, but is rather an investment fund and proposals put to its decision-makers need to have a lot of rigour around them, as well as regional support.

And naturally plenty of proposals have been submitted, close to $2 billion worth, with more than half of them processed and about $600m of funding now committed.

The priorities of the fund are to enhance economic development opportunities in the provinces, create sustainable jobs, enable Maori to reach their full potential (this was stressed as a major focus for the fund), boost social inclusion and participation, build resilient communities, and help meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.

All provinces are eligible for funding and Tairawhiti is one of six “surge” regions identified as needing early investment.

NZ First deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau, who is undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, expressed his passion for boosting the provinces and being part of a Government that is helping deliver on that goal through the PGF.

The PwC and BNZ representatives explained how they can help develop business proposals and, from the bank’s perspective, loan money alongside equity from the applicant to help attract top-up PGF funding — which could be via a grant, loan or equity investment.

PGF representatives stressed that proposals were all measured against the same criteria, however something funded for one region might not be for another as regional needs and opportunities were different. It was about pitching the possibilities right, being smart with applications and also putting a lot of work into them. PGF decision-making was also evolving.

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