Hon. Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is delivering on its commitment to unlock the potential of Māori-owned land with investments up and down the country making a genuine difference to communities, Regional Economic Development Shane Jones says.
At Waitangi last year, the Government announced a $100 million Whenua Māori allocation aimed at creating new economic opportunities on Māori-owned land through loans or grants.
“Today, I’m pleased to be in Kaikohe to announce that we’ve approved 30 initiatives across eight regions worth about $30 million, with another $40m in applications currently under assessment,” Shane Jones said.
“Finding investment-ready proposals has required great partnership between our officials at the Provincial Development Unit and the various groups that own these underutilised blocks of land. I’m proud of the work we’ve done in this important space and I’m confident the allocation will be fully committed in the next six months.
“The partnerships we’re announcing today are integral to developing our regional economies and providing Māori landowners the opportunity to create their own wealth, raise incomes and wellbeing.
“The Whenua Māori allocation assists Māori with access to financial capital which remains a challenge for landowners as the special status of their land means commercial banks are less willing to lend to them. I’m pleased that through the PGF, we’re in a unique position to be able to support these landowners.
“Some landowners need to do some very fundamental work to remediate their land after poor lease arrangements over long periods of time or because land has reverted to gorse or unproductive scrub.
“In Northland this means the Waima Tohu B Ahu Whenua Trust can now focus on pasture reinstatement, like scrub clearing, fertilising and fencing and the Whangaroa Ngaiotonga Trust Farm will be able to carry out essential remedial work to bring their land in line with optimal farming practices.
“Other landowners nationwide are forming collectives with neighbouring landowners to increase commercial viability. This will unleash the economic potential of their land and lead to improved productivity, greater returns for their beneficiaries and increased local jobs.
“The PGF is funding some great ideas for Māori business and is working closely with Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry for Primary Industries to support Māori landowners to build and improve governance and management capability within the trusts that manage them.
“Today I am proud to announce seven of these Whenua Māori initiatives are based in the Northland region and together will receive over $6 million.
“This allocation is a prime example of how the Government is working in partnership with Māori for the benefit of our people, our communities and our regions,” Shane Jones said.
Notes to editors:
Please see attached table for a full list of Whenua Māori initiatives. For further information about any of the projects, please contact PDUComms@mbie.govt.nz