Published: 23 February 2018
The $1 billion Provincial Growth Fund launched by the Government today will give New Zealand’s regions a boost and help unlock the potential of our rural and smaller centres, Local Government New Zealand says.
The Provincial Growth Fund, launched in Gisborne today by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones, detailed the Government’s plans to help New Zealand’s regions maximise their opportunities to boost local economies.
New Zealand’s regions are significant contributors to the economy but a range of factors including population and technological changes mean some have struggled. While in recent times economic growth has returned to some areas, this has been uneven and has led to stark discrepancies between sometimes neighbouring regions.
LGNZ President Dave Cull says the country’s economic growth strategy needs to consider the nation as a whole and the Government’s commitment to much greater investment in regions is a welcome step. The Fund aims to enhance economic development opportunities, create sustainable jobs, contribute to community well-being, lift the productivity potential of regions, and help meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.
“Revitalising the regions, especially those that are not seeing some of the growth others are experiencing, will have benefits not just for those areas but also for the rest of the country,” Mr Cull says.
“National success, and achieving our goals of strong and vibrant communities, relies on realising the full economic potential of all regions.”
Doing this is a complex task that requires a partnership between local and central government, communities and the private sector. The Provincial Growth Fund acknowledges the important role of local communities in deciding where and how to invest, and LGNZ will work with councils to ensure communities get the most from the Fund.
“The approach the Government is taking, with a genuine intent to partner with local agencies, is the right one. To successfully tackle the challenge of regional development we need to involve communities in the decision-making process so that the diversity, assets and attributes of our regions are reflected in the decisions made.”
Mr Cull says New Zealand, like nations throughout the world, faces a period of significant change and uncertainty.
“Ensuring our regions are equipped to meet the challenges ahead is crucial and the Provincial Growth Fund will be a significant tool in achieving this, and we look forward to seeing it roll out over the coming years.”