New government fund welcomed in BOP

The Whakatane Town Wharf has been a previous beneficiary of the Provincial Growth Fund. File Image.

The Employers and Manufacturers Association says the government’s announcement of a new fund to replace the Provincial Growth Fund is good news for the economic recovery of the regions.

Chief executive Brett O’Riley says the $200 million Regional Strategic Partnership Fund will be welcomed by its members in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty in particular.

The Bay of Plenty has been one of the most prolific beneficiaries of the previous fund, receiving nearly $582,000 in approved funding up to March 31 this year.

"They saw the benefits of the Provincial Growth Fund pre-Covid, but now need another boost because since then they have had setbacks such as closures of large employers," says Brett.

"They will also be pleased to hear that each region will help decide its own priorities, and we are keen to be part of that conversation too."

The new fund has been announced by Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash.

“Regions will identify priority investments which support the Government’s vision of creating more productive, resilient, inclusive, sustainable and Maori-enabling regional economies,” the Minister says.

Brett says while $200 million is a long way from the Provincial Growth Fund’s $3.11 billion allocated over three years, it shows how much the Government recognises the importance of the regions to the country’s economy recovery.

"We are glad to see what has already been allocated in the Provincial Growth Fund is secure, and that there will be more funding available on a case-by-case basis, in addition to the seed funding the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund will provide."

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