Kaipara is to receive $28.2 million from the government’s Provincial Growth Fund, with the grant announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development minister Shane Jones, at Otamatea Marae near Maungaturoto last Sunday.
“The grant is a huge kick-start to the local economy,” said Kaipara Mayor, Jason Smith.
“Council chief executive, Louise Miller and I went to Wellington last October and proposed that a Kaipara package is focussed on projects, which would benefit the largest number of people and would be a kickstart for Kaipara economic development.
“The three subject areas would be roads, wharves and kai — growing food in Kaipara. Roads are the largest area of ratepayer complaints and the biggest frustration of locals and visitors. Kaipara certifiably has some of the worst unsealed roads in New Zealand.”
The lion’s share of the new funding will go to improve the district’s roads.
“Reliable transport infrastructure is crucial to Northland’s economic success as it affects every part of the region’s economy,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“That’s why we have announced that the government will invest $19.41 million to upgrade transport links in Kaipara. An additional $6.84 million will be invested from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF); this plus local contributions bring the total investment in Kaipara transport infrastructure to $27.26 million.
“We will also explore upgrading Kaipara wharves and water transport with the Kaipara Moana helping the district leverage more benefits from the Kaipara Harbour, the biggest in New Zealand.
“The government will also invest $980,000 towards Kaipara Kai — a project that will explore new crop and stock types, and aquaculture opportunities for the region.”
A young fan gets a selfie with the Prime Minister at Otamatea Marae
The initiative will also promote high-value cropping by utilising existing soil and crop research and environmental best-practice.
Shane Jones said the projects would not only enable greater land utilisation but also create more resilient communities and have significant environmental impacts for the district.
“Local people have told us that infrastructure is a priority for them and a key enabler of future economic growth. Today’s commitment to Kaipara will help the region leverage its substantial assets in the primary sector and generate meaningful and sustainable economic growth.
“Investments like those announced today demonstrate our commitment to tackle these challenges and turn around the economic fortunes of the North and its people.”
A broad breakdown of funding provides for Roads $14.46m, Moana (Kaipara Harbour) $4.95m, Kai (food production) $0.98m.
• Pouto Road Phase 1 Extending the sealed portion of Pouto Road $5.05m
• Investigating wharves and water transport in the Kaipara Harbour $4.95m
• Road remetalling and improving quality of existing roads $3.15m
• Pouto Road Phase 2 complete sealing to Pouto Point $3.13m
• Waipoua River Road Improving safety and access $1.6m
• Programme Support Additional resource to assist Kaipara District Council to deliver the investment programme $1.3m
• Kaipara Kai develop a potential 50,000 hectares of fertile land into a sustainable horticultural area $0.98m