Fletcher Tabuteau, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development
A suite of Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investments comprising transport infrastructure, digital connectivity, water storage, and skills and employment in the Hawke’s Bay region has today been announced by Parliamentary Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.
The investment package, worth more than $68 million, will build on the region’s strength to unlock the economic potential of the Hawke’s Bay and improve social outcomes.
“The Hawke’s Bay is known for its rich farming and horticulture sectors but it faces challenges such as high youth unemployment, low wages and lower GDP per capita compared to the rest of New Zealand,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
“That’s why the PGF prioritised the Hawke’s Bay for investment and I’m proud of the package we’re able to unveil today.
“The region is a significant contributor to New Zealand’s agriculture sector and a global producer, processor and exporter of primary sector products. It is therefore heavily reliant on a dependable water supply and transport to get its products to market.
“The PGF is making a major investment in water with two water storage initiatives, an aquifer mapping project, and a region-wide water assessment project to better understand the region’s wider water needs.
Environment Minister David Parker said the water storage projects were of a much smaller scale than previously proposed initiatives.
“Both projects will support horticultural production in the region by improving the security of water supply in dry years,” David Parker said.
“Unlike the prior Ruataniwha scheme, which relied on increasing cow and cattle numbers, putting more pressure on water quality, these projects will assist the conversion of livestock farms to horticulture.
Fletcher Tabuteau said the transport initiatives being announced would improve links within the region and between major transport hubs, key services and markets, making travel more time and cost efficient.
“The local digital connectivity package will connect 11 Hawke’s Bay marae to fast and reliable broadband to help them seize business and education opportunities,” Mr Tabuteau said.
“Additionally through the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi programme, we will invest in employment, skills and capability through two projects that will grow employment opportunities for the benefit of local people and businesses in the region.
“We’re also helping unlock the potential of Māori-owned land for horticulture by connecting a latent workforce in isolated communities to sustainable employment and training opportunities. This investment comes from the PGF’s Whenua Māori programme.
“Today’s announcements are a long-awaited and much-needed boost for the Hawke’s Bay and will absolutely lead to economic growth and enhanced social outcomes,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
Further investments in industry-led activities in the Hawke’s Bay region will be announced in the coming months.