The eastern Bay of Plenty town of Ōpōtiki is getting a new harbour, which will create 1,850 new jobs in the region, in a new round of regional services funding announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.
Ōpōtiki's harbour is currently unusable by most ships, but it will receive $79.4 million to change that. The investment will be spent on the harbour’s redevelopment, to make it safe and fit for purpose for the seafood industry.
Minister Jones said of the 1,850 jobs this would create, 730 would be in Ōpōtiki itself. He made the announcement in his speech to the first conference called by the new Infrastructure Commission, now known as Infracom, which was held in Auckland.
"Building a new harbour to support the growth of aquaculture is the biggest transformational investment the Provincial Growth Fund has made to date," the Minister said.
"World demand for sustainable seafood is increasing rapidly and large scale aquaculture requires a safe, accessible harbour for harvesting produce and servicing boats.”
“Today's announcement will provide safe access for more boats into the harbour, allowing Ōpōtiki to become a major servicing base for aquaculture and other marine related industries,” Minister Jones added.
The Minister named mussel farming as one of the beneficiaries of the development. He said it would be "the catalyst for private investment in marine related industries, wharves and a residential development".
The harbour announcement by Minister Jones was part of a package of $190m in spending, as part of the $300m earmarked for the regions in the Government's new $12 billion infrastructure programme, announced during the Infracom Conference.