The Government is investing $53.3 million in a variety of projects that will provide a huge boost to the Nelson, Marlborough and Blenheim region, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced in Blenheim this morning.
“These projects will transform the region, create jobs and make the Top of the South an even more attractive place to live, work and visit,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
These projects are being funded by a combination of loans and investments from the Provincial Growth Fund and the Infrastructure Reference Group’s (IRG) shovel ready projects.
The projects announced today are:
· New Zealand Wine Centre – The Marlborough Research Centre Trust will receive a $3.79 million PGF loan to establish a New Zealand Wine Centre in Blenheim which will be based at the Nelson/Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) campus.
· Whale Trail – The Marlborough Kaikoura Trail Trust (MKTT), set up by the Kaikōura, District Council and Marlborough District Council, will receive an IRG investment of $18 million to develop the Whale Trail, a 194 kilometre cycling and walking trail from Picton to Kaikōura.
· Kanuka Processing Facility – The Kaikaiawaro Charitable Trust will receive a PGF Whenua Māori grant of $700,000 to help establish a Kanuka processing facility built on Ngati Kuia land that will enable Kaikaiāwaro Trust and Ngati Kuia to develop their own dedicated facility using products harvested from their own land.
· Flood protection package – An IRG investment of $18 million in three flood protection projects – Saxton Creek Flood Protection Upgrade, Wairau River Flood Protection Scheme and the Lower Motueka River Flood Bank improvement project to ensure the region’s fishing, aquaculture and marine engineering industries will be preserved for years to come.
· Apollo Aviation – Hawk Eye Limited and Apollo Autonomy will receive an IRG investment of $3 million to further develop software that will enable unmanned airfreight operations, with an operation run out of Nelson and initial piloted flights between Nelson, Westport and Christchurch.
· Nelson Slipway Redevelopment and Services Expansion – Port Nelson Ltd and Aimex Service Group will receive a $9.8 million IRG investment to replace an aged and inadequate small marine slipway with a state of the art modern replacement.
Fletcher Tabuteau said all of these projects are very exciting for the Top of the South Region, especially the creation of local jobs.
“The New Zealand Wine Centre will help establish an integrated innovation, research and education centre and hub for grape and wine research and it is expected that up to 25 jobs will be created at the facility over the next 10 years,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
“Wine is the backbone of Marlborough’s economy and it is only right the region should be home to such a prestigious industry centre of excellence.
“The new Whale Trail will provide a new way to access the region’s unique local attractions and facilities and connect the communities of Picton, Blenheim, Seddon, Ward, Kekerengu, Clarence and Kaikōura and is expected to create 42 full time jobs over the three years of construction, with around 130 indirect jobs created each year through increased tourism in the area.
Fletcher Tabuteau said the PGF Whenua Māori grant for the Kanuka processing plant will mean the Kaikaiāwaro Trust and Ngati Kuia have greater control over their supply chain to grow their income stream, and channel these benefits back to iwi including the creation of jobs.
“Investment in three flood protection projects is also expected to create a total of 65 jobs and work is expected to begin by March next year.
“The Apollo Aviation project will create up to 10 jobs in the short term, and between 25-40 permanent jobs as the project develops.
“These announcements today show once again the Government’s policy to invest in infrastructure that benefits our regions, thereby benefiting all of New Zealanders, not just our larger metropolitan areas,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
Minister for Rural Communities, Damien O’Connor, said this commitment to the regions will build on the strength of our primary sectors and provide real and new jobs for a range of skilled locals.
Media contact: Laree Taula 021 992 200