Hon Shane Jones, Minister Regional Economic Development
The Provincial Growth Fund is providing $60 million to councils and KiwiRail to create employment for local workers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.
“As part of the recent Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) reset we announced an allocation of $60m for road and rail projects across the country that will focus on worker redeployment.
“This is made up of $27.2m for local roading projects, $26m for rail projects and nearly $6.8m for the Ministry of Social Development to support workers into training to take up these jobs.
“This means at least 800 New Zealanders most in need of employment due to the economic effects of COVID-19 can be employed into work in their own communities,” Shane Jones said.
“Workers throughout New Zealand have been significantly impacted by the economic impacts of COVID-19. This latest investment is in addition to the $100 million earmarked for worker redeployment, of which $28m has already been allocated to Tairawhiti, $6.2m nationally for forestry workers and $36.7m to other regions hard hit by the effects of Covid-19.”
The $27.2 m for roading projects means work start almost immediately on improving roads, cycleways, tree maintenance and water projects in seven regions. These are in the Bay of Plenty, the West Coast, Manawatu-Whanganui, Wairarapa, Taranaki, top of the South Island and Waikato.
The $26m rail investment means work can start early next month on culvert clearing and drainage improvements on regional railway lines. KiwiRail will be working with the Ministry of Social Development to take on and train new regional rail workers.
The package announced today consists of:
ROADING PROJECTS TOTAL $27.215 million
- Bay of Plenty – $12.55 million for footpaths, the Motu cycleway extension, a horse trail, tree and pest removal, track and park maintenance, water projects and roading (291 jobs)
- Manawatu-Whanganui – $5.52 million for roading, cycle trails, tree removal and firewood supply (159 jobs)
- West Coast – $1.9 million for planting projects in the Buller district and work on the Greymouth Reservoir Replacement Project (30 jobs)
- Wairarapa – $1 million for tree removal and maintenance on high-risk roads (10 jobs)
- Taranaki – $1.12 million for road safety (12 jobs)
- Top of the South – $2.73 million for roading, cycle ways, drainage clearance, tree clearance and planting (65 jobs)
- Waikato – $2.39 million for cycleways and tree removal (72 jobs)
RAIL PROJECTS TOTAL $26 MILLION
- Projects include drain and culvert condition surveys, culvert cleaning and maintenance, vegetation control and drainage renewals and improvements.
- The work will take place around rail lines from the Waikato to Wairarapa, and in Canterbury, West Coast and Otago-Southland.
- The investment will create work for 200 people, including new rail trainees, local regional contractors, and redeployed KiwiRail staff.
“Our aim is to put in place measures to soften the impact on workers and businesses in some of the most affected areas, and in sectors where jobs have been lost and most in need of support,” Shane Jones said.
“The local councils and KiwiRail projects are providing vital support to regional economies as the PGF refocuses on projects that will provide immediate jobs, can start immediately and have high visibility to boost public confidence in the economic recovery.”