Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced $17.7 million in funding over the next two years for the Regional Growth Programme as part of Budget 2017.
This is further to the $50 million announced by Prime Minster Bill English in Hawkes Bay today to help the most at-risk young people in regional New Zealand into sustained employment, a key part of the Government’s plan to support the regions.
Through the Programme, the Government is supporting regions to develop economic development action plans specific to their needs.
“New Zealand’s economy is made up of diverse regions, each with their own unique set of natural resources, infrastructure and people with their own ideas on how to lift their region’s social and economic potential,” Mr Bridges says.
“This new funding allows government to continue building its partnerships with the regions, building on the $44 million allocated for Regional Growth Initiatives as part of last year’s budget.
“When the regions do well, New Zealand does well and we are already seeing the fruits of success from the programme in areas like Northland and the Bay of Plenty,” Mr Bridges says.
Over the last three years, the Government has worked with ten regions to identify economic challenges and opportunities. Action plans have been launched for Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti/Gisborne, Manawatū-Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, and Southland.
Ministers co-launched a refreshed economic strategy with the Canterbury Mayoral Forum in Christchurch last month and tomorrow the West Coast Action Plan will be launched.
“The programme has already supported regions to focus on economic development with more confidence and ambition,” Mr Guy says.
“While improving economic performance can take time, those regions with Action Plans have already started to improve employment and investment. This funding will ensure this good progress continues.”