Ōpōtiki a big winner in latest Provincial Growth Fund projects

Ōpōtiki was one of the big winners in yesterday's Provincial Growth Fund announcement outlining a $60 million cash injection for councils and KiwiRail to create employment for local workers.

The town's mayor was also optimistic, saying the future of the town is "right now" as it can move forward with development projects that will improve safety and create about 130 jobs.

The Ōpōtiki funding is part of the $12.55m that will go towards work throughout the Bay of Plenty, expected to create 291 jobs in the region.

Overall, the Provincial Growth Fund 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.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the funding announcement meant at least 800 New Zealanders most in need of employment due to the economic effects of Covid-19 could be employed in their own communities.

"Workers throughout New Zealand have been significantly impacted by the economic impacts of Covid-19," he said.

"This latest investment is in addition to the $100m 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," Minister Jones added.



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