Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has today announced a Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) package for Manawatū-Whanganui of about $48 million.
The PGF will support projects across a range of sectors – such as transport, food and beverage, digital connectivity and tourism and will help create new employment and economic development opportunities for the region.
“The largest investment is for KiwiRail to progress work to establish a regional freight hub near Palmerston North. This builds on Palmerston North’s strategic location within New Zealand’s freight system and will add capacity required in face of predicted freight demand,” Shane Jones said.
“Training and employment is also a key feature of the package with a $2.8 million investment to expand the National Driver Training Centre based at Manfeild, near Feilding. With support from the PGF, a full programme of driver training will be created to help meet demand for skilled drivers and machinery operators nationally.”
In addition, Minister Jones also confirmed PGF support for a number of other projects in the Manawatū-Whanganui region, including:
- $100,000 to investigate FoodHQs development to assist food exporters
- $100,000 to assess alternative land utilisation choices in the Tararua District
- $98,000 towards Kaitahi Food & Innovation Factory
- $95,000 towards establishing an education, training and employment programme at the former site of Turakina Māori Girls’ College
- $60,000 towards the Tararua Tourism & Trails Strategy
- $50,000 to investigate education to employment pathways within Horowhenua
“Years of neglect in our regions emphasises the importance of these types of investments, which allow regions to upscale their planning and develop projects which will drive sustainable economic development.
“The PGF support towards these projects will help Manawatū-Whanganui progress work important to their region and ensure projects become investment-ready.
“This further demonstrates our Government’s commitment to working alongside regions to fully unlock their potential and help take them to new heights,” Shane Jones said.
Notes to editors: All projects announced today are subject to funding contracts which will include a range of agreed commercial arrangements, targets, milestones and deliverables.