The Government hopes to pave the way for future economic growth in Kaipara with a $20.39m investment from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to strengthen the district’s transport infrastructure, food and horticulture sector.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement at Otamatea Marae on February 3.
“There has been a long history of under-investment in Northland, particularly in infrastructure. The Government is absolutely committed to investing in the public services and infrastructure that make our country and communities strong,” Ms Ardern said.
She added that reliable transport infrastructure is crucial to Northland’s economic success as it affected every part of the region’s economy.
“That’s why we have announced that the Government will invest $19.41 million to upgrade transport links in Kaipara. An additional $6.84 million will be invested from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF). This, plus local contributions, bring the total investment in Kaipara transport infrastructure to $27.26 million,” she said.
She said the Government would also explore upgrading Kaipara wharves and water transport to help the district leverage more benefits from the Kaipara Harbour, the largest in New Zealand.
The Government will invest a further $980,000 towards Kaipara Kai – a project that will explore new crop and stock types, and aquaculture opportunities for the region. The initiative will also promote high-value cropping on the district’s significant fertile whenua (land) assets by utilising existing soil and crop research and environmental best-practice.
Shane Jones said the projects not only enable greater land utilisation, but also create more resilient communities and have significant environmental impacts for the district.
“From primary industry to tourism, Northland is primed for strong growth and a resilient, reliable transport network is an important part of achieving this growth,” he said.
“Local people have told us that infrastructure is a priority for them and a key enabler of future economic growth. Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to working with regions to generate new economic opportunities.
“When the Provincial Growth Fund was established, core infrastructure investment was identified as a powerful catalyst for regional development. Today’s commitment to Kaipara will help the region leverage its substantial assets in the primary sector and generate meaningful and sustainable economic growth.
“While there are improvements, we know that Northland still faces significant economic and social challenges, such as 5.6 per cent unemployment which is far above the national rate, and an economy that has been growing much slower than the national average.
“Investments like those announced today demonstrate our commitment to tackle these challenges and turn around the economic fortunes of the north and its people,” he said.