PGF further supports Tairāwhiti’s economic growth

Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing in projects to support medical research, wood processing and social enterprise to further enhance Tairāwhiti’s economic potential, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

Minister Jones is in Gisborne today and has announced funding of $27.1 million in addition to the $152 million already committed to the region from the PGF.

“The PGF is making a major investment in wood processing, the biggest growth opportunity in Gisborne. We’ll also invest in a local social enterprise so it can build on its current success, and we’re backing the establishment of a medical research lab which could create benefits globally,” Shane Jones said.

The three initiatives receiving funding today are:

· Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence – $19.5 million

· Matai Medical Research Institute – $6 million

· Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust – $2 million

Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence

“The Eastland Community Trust is set to receive its first funding instalment this month for the Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence. The Centre is being developed as a hub for wood processing, wood products, marketing and distribution, and training and research.

“This first funding tranche will be for $5 million and will generate at least 30 full-time jobs. We expect employment will continue to grow as the Centre is developed in stages.

“Forestry is a significant economic driver in Tairāwhiti and we want to make sure the region is able to take full advantage of the opportunities the sector provides.

“The $19.5 million investment is a commitment to the region. This will lead to higher-value forestry products being produced and more money going back into the community via pay packets for local workers.

The PGF invested $500,000 to the centre in 2018 for its first stage of development.

Matai Medical Research Institute

“Matai Medical Research Institute is looking to establish a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) lab in Gisborne to get a better understanding of the brain, heart and body, with a focus on the fast-emerging field of traumatic brain injury.

“The Institute will bring up to 25 new jobs and economic stimulus to the region, and undertake research that has the potential to contribute to knowledge in the area of brain trauma and its effects on crime, unemployment and mental health in New Zealand and world-wide.

“Advances in technology means the Institute is not restricted by location. It is committed to being based in Gisborne and has international interest and a desire from a number of international researchers to work with the Institute.”

The Institute will be located at Gisborne Hospital.

Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust

Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust will receive up to $2 million to scale up and maximise its food harvesting and processing through the construction of a food processing facility to help get more long-term unemployed people into jobs.

“The Charitable Trust currently employs about 22 people in a variety of roles and provides pastoral care to keep people in work. Today’s funding will enable it to accelerate its training and place long-term unemployed people, or those not in education, employment or training into jobs and on the path to independence.

“The more successful the Trust is, the more people it will be able to invest in via training and education. This will help reduce poverty in Tairāwhiti.

“These projects are an example of the Tairāwhiti region making the most of its strengths and opportunities and the PGF is proud to come to the table and support this,” Shane Jones said.

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