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Source: New Zealand Government

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.

“This package is about jobs, and about community confidence,” said Mr Peters.

“The funding will be used to forge partnerships between the three projects to enable the sharing of expert advice and support for common outcomes,” Mr Peters said.

The $2.5 million Whakatāne acceleration package provides additional funding for three Whakatāne projects that previously received 36.8 million PGF funding as part of the New Zealand Upgrade Programme.

The PGF funding announced today will speed up the below projects:

  • Riverfront Revitalisation: This project is led by the Whakatāne District Council in partnership with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa. It will establish Whakatāne as a world-class, small town destination, and includes a significant upgrade to the riverfront promenade and the remediation and improved accessibility of the existing town wharf.
  • Commercial Boat Harbour: This project is led by Te Rāhui Lands Trust in partnership with the Whakatāne District Council, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Ltd. Situated on a 10.9ha block of Māori freehold land, this project will address the need for more berths and better protection from the dynamic river environment, increasing local economic returns.
  • Kāinga development: This project is led by Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Ltd. and Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa. The site of the Whakatāne Army Hall will be rebuilt as an iconic building promoting and celebrating the heritage, culture and stories of Ngāti Awa. It will provide a destination for recreational and commercial visitors, and provide a venue for community events.

“Investing in local people and local infrastructure will ensure Whakatāne has the foundations for new economic growth opportunities in the future, and will play a significant role in our economic recovery from COVID-19,” Mr Tabuteau said.

“When initial PGF funding for these projects was announced in March 2020, it was estimated the projects would create 453 new direct and indirect jobs in the region by 2030, as well as attract future investment, unlock tourism, cultural and commercial opportunities across the district.

“This announcement today is timely because it puts the turbo boost on the region’s economic opportunities and needs now,” Mr Tabuteau said.

Mr Peters said, “It’s important that we back our regions in times of need. Today’s PGF investment unlocks the necessary resources required to upgrade critical community assets that are visible and important to the community, thereby boosting confidence and optimism in the region.”

“This PGF acceleration package for Whakatāne also complements the $8.2 million PGF funded worker redeployment package announced for Whakatāne in June 2020, and provides the support needed to strengthen and revitalise Whakatāne for years to come,” Mr Peters said.

Note to editors: Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.