/////////////////////////////////////////// Boost for local government in new bills
The Government is acting to restore the promotion of social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being of communities to the statutory purpose of local councils, says Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Two new Bills, which are due to have their first reading in Parliament next week, also aim to re-introduce the ability of councils to collect wider development contributions and make it easier for them to bring in online voting. The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill is the one designed to restore the “four well-beings” to the statutory purpose of local government and give councils back the ability to collect development contributions in order to fund increased demand for community facilities, such as libraries, sports grounds and swimming pools resulting from developments. Previous National-led administrations had unfortunately narrowed the statutory purpose of local government to focus only on service delivery and not broader community well-being. "By inserting the four well-beings back into the Local Government Act we acknowledge the valuable role local leadership has to promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of citizens and communities,” said Nanaia Mahuta. “We are confronted with various challenges as a country such as the impact of population growth, climate change and ageing infrastructure. Quality of life outcomes as well as regional growth and prosperity require a broader focus in the way councils meet the challenge of setting priorities and planning for the future. “Re-inserting the power for the collection of development contributions to provide for community infrastructure and reserves will provide some relief to councils as we continue to work towards a broader range of funding and financing tools to assist local government.” A second Local Electoral Matters Bill addresses the design, trial and analysis of new voting methods for local elections, and will make it easier to trial electronic voting, including online voting. “Modernising local electoral practices is an important part of encouraging and fostering civic participation in local government. This Bill aims to help councils use new tools to get more people involved in determining the make-up of their local councils.”
/////////////////////////////////////////// Future of Hato Petera College up for consultation
Agreement has been reached to begin consultation about the possible cancellation of the integration agreement of Hato Petera College, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins. “Established in 1928, Hato Petera has played an important part in the lives of many students and whānau. However in recent years the college has struggled to attract students. “Earlier this year, a Commissioner was appointed to take over the governance of the college. With only one student currently in attendance, the Commissioner has raised concerns about the sustainability of the school. He is supportive of the decision that the proprietor of Hato Petera College, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland, and I have now taken to initiate the consultation process. “I acknowledge that this is an uncertain time for the student currently attending Hato Petera, her whānau and the community. But the role of Māori boarding schools has changed over the years. “Despite the extensive work of the Commissioner, previous Boards of Trustees, teaching staff and the community, concerns about the College’s finances, human resourcing, curriculum and its low student numbers remain. “There was a consultation process about the future of the college held in 2016, but the situation at the school has now changed and it is time to listen again to what the whānau and the Diocese want for the College. “Following the consultation process, which will run until 14 May, the Ministry of Education will provide a summary of the feedback. “Once I’ve had a chance to consider the feedback, a decision will be made about the cancellation of the College's integration agreement,” Chris Hipkins says.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Investment in Taranaki Cathedral to create tourist drawcard
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $5 million in Taranaki’s Cathedral project to help transform the heritage icon into a nationally significant tourist drawcard, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The region has identified the Cathedral Project as one of its key priorities in the action plan and has plans above and beyond restoring the building. “The PGF support will help transform the cathedral into a tourism attraction that will showcase the sometimes turbulent story of European settlement in Taranaki and the relationship between Maori and Pakeha over 175 years,” Shane Jones said. “The Taranaki Cathedral has been at the centre of nationally important history and is rich with artefacts and stories. It has acted as a garrison and a centre of peace. Once restoration is complete New Zealand’s oldest stone church will offer visitors, both local and international, a rich and immersive experience. “The project will use the site and buildings, professionally designed displays, audio visual guides and multimedia resources to tell this story, making a unique contribution to enhanced bi-cultural understanding and relationships in the future. “As well as satisfying a growing local demand for real stories from New Zealand’s history, the enhanced Category 1 Heritage Building and its site have the potential to be a huge tourist drawcard for the region. The site’s existing wooden Vicarage will also be moved closer the Cathedral and repurposed as a community space. “Visits to cultural institutions and historic places are a significant reason for many people to travel domestically and internationally, and this will be another unique offering for Taranaki’s visitor sector,” Shane Jones said. The Cathedral project will complement the existing cultural infrastructure of Taranaki and create a compelling visitor offering, alongside Puke Ariki and Govett Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre, and the Taranaki Crossing Experience. The aim is for construction to start in May 2019, with work taking up to 15 months.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Diversifying Taranaki through future food opportunities
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest in identifying future food opportunities with the greatest potential to help transform the Taranaki economy, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The PGF will provide $175,000 to identify and prioritise major food-related opportunities in the region, as well as help develop a business case on the viability of establishing a Taranaki food network. “Both of these initiatives provide opportunities to diversify the local economy, create jobs and attract investment into the region,” Shane Jones said. “A long list of food related initiatives already exists in Taranaki. This funding will allow the region to focus on assessing and developing the best of these opportunities. “Establishing a Taranaki food network is in the region’s economic action plan and has the potential to strengthen local food businesses and foster value-added food production in the region. “Taranaki has the natural advantages of rich, fertile soil and abundant rainfall. The region is primed to diversify land use and optimise technology to become a major smart and innovative high value food producer,” Shane Jones said.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Funding boost for entrepreneurs and innovators
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $100,000 to support Taranaki’s entrepreneurs and innovators, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau says. The funding will contribute to a feasibility study into the creation of innovation precincts in the region. “Taranaki has a small but growing entrepreneurial community,” Fletcher Tabuteau said. “What these start-ups often need is a focal point, a sense of connection with others and a way to share ideas and knowledge. “The feasibility study will investigate how a series of connected precincts, with a central New Plymouth hub, could support innovation and community engagement. While this is a small investment, it has the potential to lead to much bigger and better things. “The proposed innovation precincts are anticipated to be in New Plymouth, Hawera, Stratford, Opunake, Waitara and Waverly/Patea and would include shared co-working and meeting spaces, incubator programmes, education and training delivery, and private sector participation,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Taranakis Action Plan to modernise its economy
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $20 million to help future-proof the Taranaki region by diversifying its economy, creating additional jobs and leveraging off the strong base the region has established through its oil, gas and agricultural sectors. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau are in New Plymouth today for the launch of Tapuae Roa: Make Way for Taranaki Action Plan with the Taranaki region. Taranaki’s economy has traditionally relied on the oil, gas and minerals industry, as well as dairy and energy, which make up about 40 per cent of the region’s GDP. “The region is transitioning to a modern, high-value economy based on the skills, enterprise and knowledge of its people,” Shane Jones said. “The PGF will fund up to $20 million for projects from the action plan, with the region itself contributing more than $16 million. “Investment will be made into an ambitious proposal to enable more people to enjoy the beauty of Mt Taranaki and initiatives aimed at transitioning the region to meet global market trends, such as those in the energy sector. It will also create more opportunities to attract people to the region. “The Action Plan identifies ‘four futures’ – energy, food, Māori economy and visitor sector futures. All of the actions combined will work to grow Taranaki’s talent and entrepreneurial mindset. Developing the skills and capabilities of the wider Taranaki community will form the strong foundation of a modern economy. “It’s great to see the effort that has gone into this action plan and I’d particularly like to acknowledge the work of the governance group, which has worked hard to bring everyone together to make the most of the opportunities in Taranaki. “Integrated regional leadership - working alongside central and local government, iwi/Māori, and business - is vital to the plan’s successful implementation and the future growth of the region,” Shane Jones said.
Provincial Growth Fund investments
Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary
Taranaki Crossing Experience
New Energy Development Centre – business case
H2 Taranaki Hydrogen Road Map
Future Foods – Taranaki Hill Country initiative
Future Foods – Major Food Opportunities
Future Foods – Food Network
Taranaki Innovation Precincts
Māori Education and Enterprise Stocktake
Tapuae Roa Support
/////////////////////////////////////////// Putting the focus on the Forgotten World Highway
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $400,000 to determine the value of State Highway 43 to Taranaki’s economy, particularly in the tourism sector, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The investment into SH43 - better known as the Forgotten World Highway - will occur ahead of a possible multi-million dollar upgrade to the road. “Connecting Stratford with Taumarunui for about 149km, SH43 is an increasingly popular road trip for visitors,” Shane Jones said. “It is also an important freight route for beef, lamb and dairy products, a burgeoning local Mānuka honey industry and a number of radiata pine forests, which are due to be harvested in coming years. “A 12km section of the highway through the Tangarakau Gorge remains unsealed. Sealing this area would boost its value as a link between Taranaki and the central North Island, and could play a role in bringing more visitors to the region. “With funding committed to upgrading the Taranaki Crossing, an improved SH43 would provide a direct link between that walk and the Tongariro Crossing, and make it easier for more visitors to access a relatively remote part of New Zealand. “SH43 takes you through some wild and beautiful parts of Taranaki, but it’s not an easy drive, especially for overseas motorists who aren’t used to driving on unsealed roads. “This preliminary work will identify the likely economic benefits of an improved SH43, and the costs, and assess how upgrading it can ensure SH43 preserves its character as one of New Zealand’s most unique state highways,” Shane Jones said. While earlier studies have investigated sealing the final 12km, this work will also look into improving resilience and safety on SH43, as well as improving signage, road markings and looking at speed management along the route.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Support for Taranaki Crossing experience
An ambitious plan to enable more people to enjoy the beauty of Mt Taranaki and strengthen connections to its natural and cultural heritage has been announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will commit up to $13.3 million to investigate and support the Mounga ki Moana Taranaki Crossing project, a major new investment for the region, including the National Park. A proposed series of track upgrades under the crossing project would create a variety of short walks to help increase the length of visitors’ stays in the region. “The proposed Crossing concept would create a 41-kilometre “Mounga to Moana” walking experience offering a range of one-day walks from Dawson Falls via the North Egmont Visitor’s Centre, Pouakai Range and Pukeiti Gardens to Oakura Beach. “It will help to unlock Taranaki’s tourism potential by creating a range of outstanding visitor experiences, just a short drive from New Plymouth or Stratford. “The first phase of today’s commitment will be a comprehensive investigation of the best ways to promote tourism in the Taranaki region and enhance biodiversity on Taranaki Mounga, and how the proposed Crossing tracks fit into that,” Shane Jones said. The project has been developed in consultation with Taranaki’s eight iwi and aligns with their aspirations. “The project will mean iwi have opportunities to invest in tourism-related businesses and express their kaitiakitanga of the mountain by sharing their stories, history and cultural values with visitors,” Shane Jones said. A potential upgrade of the North Egmont Visitor’s Centre to create a conservation and cultural education facility will be considered, as will possible development of transport options such as shuttle buses to manage and reduce traffic within the National Park. “DOC has already committed $3.4m towards upgrading the section of track from North Egmont to the Pouakai Range as part of its Budget 2017 investment in visitor infrastructure,” Eugenie Sage said. “DOC’s experience with this will help inform the best use of PGF investment to provide a quality visitor experience and enhance biodiversity on the mounga. “Mt Taranaki is not an easy place to build or maintain tracks – it’s prone to erosion and weather events which mean construction and ongoing costs can be higher than expected. There needs to be due diligence about visitor number projections before decisions are made. “Moreover, we must be certain this work enhances the natural environment and people’s connection to it rather than causing degradation of natural values. I have absolute confidence in DOC’s expertise to ensure this,” Eugenie Sage said. The Mounga ki Moana Taranaki Crossing Experience was developed by Venture Taranaki through the ‘Tapuae Roa – Make Way for Taranaki’ Regional Economic Action Plan, which identified the Crossing as a priority project for the region. The project has a total cost of $23 million, with additional funding from central and local agencies including the Taranaki Regional Council, which owns the Pukeiti Gardens, Department of Conservation, the New Plymouth District Council and NZTA.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Funding for stocktake of Māori enterprise
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $100,000 in work to better understand the current state of Māori enterprise and education in Taranaki and develop a future pathway. The announcement was made today at the launch of the Tapuae Roa: Make Way for Taranaki Action Plan in New Plymouth today. The Māori Enterprise and Education Stocktake will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts/design, mathematics, innovation, and digital to identify the next steps to progress long-term economic benefits for Māori. “This project will help in the creation of a plan to help us realise the incredible potential of Māori in Taranaki and drive economic growth for the whole region. Its results will also provide a useful roadmap for the rest of the country,” Fletcher Tabuteau said. Tapuae Roa is focused on developing four future areas: Māori economy futures, energy futures, food futures and visitor sector futures. “All of these goals can significantly benefit from uplifting Māori expertise. “The stocktake is a critical first stage in the implementation of the Māori economy futures,” Fletcher Tabuteau said. Te Puni Kokiri will contribute a further $50,000 to the project.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Investing in a clean energy future for Taranaki
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest $150,000 to investigate establishing Taranaki as an internationally recognised leader in clean energy technology, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The PGF funding will provide $100,000 towards a feasibility investigation of establishing a New Energy Development Centre, and $50,000 towards helping advance the take-up of hydrogen technologies in the region. “Taranaki has a well-established energy sector dating back more than 70 years,” Shane Jones said. “It is currently based on conventional oil and gas extraction with the addition of value-added products, such as methanol and ammonia-urea. With the impending shift to renewables, Taranaki is faced with either the gradual demise of this industry or a refocus on the renewable energy market. “Taranaki companies are well placed to develop a number of clean technologies, taking them out of the lab and into the real world. “The vision for the future is to have strong, secure and sustainable energy and petrochemical industries, but also to be an exporter of renewable energy, clean energy ideas, solutions and technologies. Ideally Taranaki would be the location of choice for new energy companies and energy technology developers, looking to retain the region’s status as the nation’s energy leader. “Taranaki has a long history in the energy sector and these investments are designed to find ways of future proofing the industry. “Change is coming and we need to start getting ready for it,” Shane Jones said.
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