NZ establishes new fund to improve regional economic recovery
New Zealand’s Government is taking the next step to recover its regional economy by establishing a new fund in replacement of the Provincial Growth Fund.
Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash said the new fund was vital to post-COVID recovery efforts at the annual conference of economic development agencies, local government representatives and chambers of commerce.
“Today we are launching the $200 million Regional Strategic Partnership Fund, which delivers on a manifesto commitment to keep supporting economic recovery in the regions,” Minister Nash said.
“Over this Parliamentary term, the RSPF has three goals. It will work in local partnerships to enable economic and business development, accelerate Māori economic aspirations, and support sector transformation. Each region will help decide its own priorities.”
Under the new Regional Strategic Partnership Fund, the central government will partner with the local government, businesses, community organisations and other agencies to identify priorities and opportunities.
This action supports the NZ Government’s vision of creating more productive, resilient, inclusive, sustainable and Māori-enabling regional economies.
The new fund was set aside in Budget 2021 and is from reprioritised funding administered by the Provincial Development Unit. There will be further reprioritisation to reflect the Minister of Finance’s expectation of value for money and targeted investment.
The new fund is over $200 million and will be used to seed funding for regional priorities. Further funding will be decided on a case-by-case basis. The investments will be strategically designed to unlock various other sources of capital to get projects underway.
“Our regions are a vital part of New Zealand’s economic strength but have been neglected in the past, stifling economic growth and living standards in regional communities,” Minister Nash said.
“We are taking a new approach, focusing on building strong partnerships to help regions realise their economic potential. The Provincial Development Unit will work in consultation with other parts of government and the private sector to ensure a more effective all of government regional economic development strategy.”
The Regional Strategic Partnership Fund is considered a significant move for New Zealand’s economic recovery. Investments under the fund will create enhanced regional and community assets, improve the environment, diversify economic activity, enable opportunities for wider investments and boost employment.
“This process will overcome longstanding issues and barriers which have previously held back regions while contributing to our economic recovery from COVID-19 and laying the foundation for our future,” Minister Nash said.
The Provincial Development Unit will now be known as Kānoa or the Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit to reflect its new focus.