The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest in water storage, infrastructure and employment projects in Napier and Hastings to support primary sector growth in the region, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced in Hastings today.
The $18.8 million investment package is part of a wider $68.3 million PGF investment package for the Hawke's Bay.
The projects announced today in Hastings are:
Hastings Eastside Masterplan $600,000
The Initiate Programme $780,434
Tautua Pasifika Youth $320,000
Hawke's Bay Water – Heretaunga Plains $12,900,000
Hawkes Bay Regional Freshwater Assessment $450,000
Hawke's Bay Water aquifer mapping $2,514,000
Napier Port Access Enhancement Project $200,000
Hawke's Bay Airport Airfreight initiative $200,000
Matariki Hawke's Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy $450,000
Te Koru Drug and Alcohol, Education and Employment Initiative $1,100,000
"While the Hawke's Bay previously had a favourable climate, high-quality land for growing produce, and an abundance of fresh water, this is no longer the case with longer drier periods and inconsistent rainfall patterns," Mr Tabuteau said.
"Water is, therefore, a major focus for PGF funding in the region because it is critical for the region's economic prosperity. The PGF will provide funding for pre-feasibility work for the development and construction of much needed small-scale water storage on the Heretaunga Plains.
"The Heretaunga water project will ensure enough water is stored for use when supplies are low over summer. It will also help mitigate the depletion of municipal water in Napier and Hastings.
"The PGF will also fund an aquifer mapping project and region-wide freshwater assessment project. This will build on previous work that considers how to futureproof supply.
Hawke's Bay Airport will receive funding to look into introducing new air freight services to export high-value perishable produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood.
"This supports the strong primary sector growth and will bring greater returns for the rural economy. It also has the potential to generate sustainable jobs in transport, warehousing and service industries across the region.
"The announcements today will also step up skills and employment initiatives in the region through the PGF's Te Ara Mahi and He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) programmes.
"The horticulture sector already plays a significant role in supporting local people into work. This will be further supported by the Te Koru Drug and Alcohol, Education and Employment initiative which will provide a pre-employment programme for working in the horticulture sector in partnership with local apple producers, Mr Apple.
"Further, The Initiate Programme will work with women between the ages of 18 to 24 to help them overcome obstacles to be able to enter sustained employment, education or training.
"I'm pleased the growing and youthful Pasifika population in Hawke's Bay has also been recognised as an opportunity for investment by the PGF, with $320,000 being earmarked for the Tautua Pasifika Youth project.
"Today's announcements reflect the variety of challenges the Hawke's Bay desperately needed to address to secure future growth and the PGF is proud to be supporting these opportunities," Fletcher Tabuteau said.
"It is fantastic that the government is investing in Hawke's Bay in a way that will facilitate economic growth and development," Stuart Nash, the member for Napier, said.
"I am very proud to be part of a Government that recognises the value of regions to the overall wellbeing of the country," Stuart Nash said.
(With Inputs from New Zealand Government Press Release)