Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
A $100 million infrastructure injection has completed a transformational week for the Eastern Bay of Plenty, with Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones ending the week by announcing $79.4 million for a new port facility in Opotiki.
The region celebrated early in the week with a near $20 million grant from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for a long-planned transport hub at Kawerau, and ended the week with the news that decades of planning and lobbying had finally brought success for the efforts of the Opotiki District Council, Whakatohea and local businesses. The EMA has also supported the project with successive governments.
EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says the two projects will be transformative for the region which faces a number of challenges.
“We were fortunate to be in Whakatane early this week and met with several of those involved in both projects and you could feel the anticipation and excitement ahead of these announcements. Everyone we spoke to was enthused about these projects but also the potential in the region that will be unlocked by the developments,” says Mr O’Riley.
“Getting these two long-planned projects across the line is a step those working hard for the future of the region believe will give local people and businesses from outside the region the confidence to invest for the future.”
The $79.4 million from the PGF will be added to a $20 million pledge of support from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s growth fund to create a base for off-shore mussel farming in Opotiki. A processing plant will also be built creating a new business, new jobs and the opportunity for future growth in the town.
“While the PGF has its critics, it is clearly giving a boost in business confidence in those areas that have struggled for Government funding and attention in the past. The EMA will continue to offer its support to the Economic Development Agencies in those regions to help take full advantage of the opportunities coming from PGF investment.”
Mr O’Riley says it was also good to see other areas in the EMA’s region (from Taupo north to Kaiataia) with a near $6 million investment in Taupo’s airport and more roading projects aimed at improving access in the Far North.
About the EMA:
The EMA is New Zealand’s largest business service organisation dedicated to helping people and businesses grow. It offers advice, learning, advocacy and support for 7600 businesses as members of the EMA, ExportNZ and The Manufacturers’ Network. The EMA is part of the BusinessNZ network and its territory spans the upper North Island. The EMA also offers many of its services nationally to member businesses, and through its partners. www.ema.co.nz.