Fletcher Tabuteau, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is supporting a new Rural Innovation Lab based at Massey University’s Palmerston North campus, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.
A $400,000 grant from the PGF to Massey University will be used to help establish a Rural Innovation Lab which will engage farmers and growers across Manawatū-Whanganui to drive new thinking in the primary sector – particularly digital farm opportunities.
“This initiative will help to develop and potentially support the commercialisation of new ideas and technologies which will improve land use in the primary sector,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
“For Manawatū-Whanganui in particular, land use optimisation is a central plank in the region’s economic action plan. This project will help to unlock new economic opportunities across the region.”
The Rural Innovation Lab is being supported by many organisations, including the Palmerston North City Council, Microsoft New Zealand, Massey University and local economic development agencies.
“The Rural Innovation Lab is a model example of local people, businesses and the community, progressing a project that aligns with their economic aspirations. The Government is proud to support this work,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor has welcomed the Provincial Growth Fund’s support of this project.
“This project is another example of the Government and primary sector working together and working smarter to extract more value for our great kiwi products. It reflects the appreciation we have of our provinces and what they do for our economy.
“Sustainable value growth is the objective of our Government, and so is ensuring that that value flows right through our economy,” Damien O’Connor said.
Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.