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Source: New Zealand Government

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters announced today a $19.95 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) that will expand Sugarloaf Wharf and increase mussel farming capacity by almost 20,000 tonnes, bringing additional jobs to the region.

“The aquaculture sector in Thames-Coromandel contributes $70 million to the district’s GDP and is responsible for 350 jobs,” said Mr Peters.

“But the sector has long been significantly constrained by a lack of capacity at Sugarloaf Wharf, which handles 90% of the North Island’s mussel production.”

The PGF funding will build an extended, raised wharf platform to account for rising sea levels, with four new berths to allow for increased commercial activity and a separate facility for launching recreational boats.

“The new wharf, Te Ariki Tahi Sugarloaf, will accommodate up to 42,000 tonnes of mussels a year, to meet increased demand from recently granted consents that have extended mussel farming space in the Hauraki Gulf by 775 hectares,” said Mr Peters.

“Iwi hold consents for 40% of available water space in the Gulf, with all mussels being unloaded at Sugarloaf Wharf. The PGF’s investment will provide greater economic returns for these holdings.

“Providing a dedicated recreational boating facility will also bring more visitors to the region and grow exciting new opportunities such as charter fishing, which has long been popular in the Gulf.

“It’s essential we continue to invest in infrastructure, job creation and sectors which will do the heavy lifting as regions recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.” Mr Peters said.

“Construction will generate around 25 new jobs. Long-term, the new wharf will enable an estimated 170 new jobs in the marine farming sector, whilst supporting the employment of over 800 people in the North Island’s aquaculture industry,” Mr Peters said.

Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash said the investment is closely aligned with the Government’s strategy to grow the aquaculture industry to $3 billion by 2035.

“An upgraded wharf at Sugarloaf is critical infrastructure that will enable aquaculture growth and help realise meaningful jobs, wellbeing and prosperity for the people of the region,” said Stuart Nash.

“We must acknowledge the collaboration between the Coromandel Marine Farmers Association, Thames Coromandel District Council, Pare Hauraki iwi and Waikato Regional Council in making today’s announcement happen,” Mr Peters said.