Launch of PGF here a 'strong signal'
6 March 2018
Choosing Gisborne to officially launch the $1 billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund was a strong signal from our new coalition Government of the importance of our region to their regional growth plans.
This was the first time in over 20 years that central government has held an official launch in our region, and the package of funded initiatives shows the integrated approach they’re taking to support our region.
Tourism featured prominently, with the funding for infrastructure, heritage and commercial product development combining to re-enforce our unique point of difference as the place where modern New Zealand began. Yes, we have our story to tell and now we have the means to do so in a way that will capture more of the economic benefits of the visitor industry.
The Makauri Aquifer Recharge support is welcomed and recognises the investment needed to maintain and enhance one of our few critical competitive advantages. Certainty of water supports investment into higher-value crops and with that comes value-added processing and higher returns overall.
Longer-term market looks positive
The region is building on the progress being made to increase wood processing in the region through the ex-Prime Sawmill site centre of excellence with the development of a “Wood Processing First” policy for the region. The market has risks and the Eastland Community Trust investment in the former Prime site has offset some of that — risk that was reflected in the recent JNL announcement. However, the longer-term market for wood processing looks positive.
Having a policy sends a strong signal of confidence to the market that demonstrates this region’s commitment to supporting this sector. Combining this demand with the region’s participation in the Government’s billion-tree planting programme, which will create supply, makes for a joined-up approach to secure better returns from our forests.
The message from the Government is clear: show them a joined-up region that is working together, and they’ll support us.
The region is continuing to bring together projects that address key areas of economic and social development, infrastructure and the environment. We have the Government’s attention and we’ll use it to lift our performance.