Nearly $1.5 million of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund has been announced for a range of projects in the Waikato region.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was in Hamilton to announce successful applicants of PGF money in the region, which comprised of $450,000 to Smart Waikato, $700,000 to the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park development in the Hauraki district, and $400,000 to Te Waka – the region’s development agency tasked to develop business cases.
Smart Waikato runs secondary school employer partnership programmes in the region.
Minister Jones said grants to Waikato from the PGF will help the region continue to move away from reliance on agriculture. He said farming in New Zealand was in transition and unless there was change in the way it was done, then the social licence will be taken away from farmers.
"So Waikato has to go through a transition and its near Auckland with some legacy industries that have generated great wealth, ie; the farming sector, but also we have to accept that Kiwis want a cleaner environment and farming has to do some of the heavy lifting in that regard and the Provincial Growth Fund and our injections are really are a contribution to an economy in transition."
Minister Jones said that in Waikato there can not be economic development unless it was blended with Māori aspiration and Māori development.
"Or it will not be supported by this government”.