Provincial Growth Fund does its job

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Wellington, June 16, 2022

Provincial Growth Fund-Stuart Nash (James Allan-NZ Herald)

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is successfully creating jobs and boosting regional economic growth, according to an independent evaluation report.

Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced the results of the report during a visit to the Mihiroa Marae in Hastings, which recently completed renovation work funded through the PGF.

Strong and resilient economies are built through investments into regions, he said.

The government reset the PGF in 2020 to invest in smaller community initiatives as a way of addressing the impact of Covid-19 on businesses. The Fund has provided regions with billions of dollars, which not only ensures economic security as we emerge from the pandemic but also supports the transition to a low-emissions economy.

Increased employment

The PGF has thus far committed $3 billion in funding, with $1.87 billion paid out so far. Of the 1359 projects approved for funding, over 500 have already been completed, resulting in over 16,000 jobs and improved economic outcomes for our regions. The report shows that grants and loans from the PGF have directly led to real change with tangible flow-on benefits – such as the $15 million loan and equity stake in Taupō-based GEO-40’s world-leading silica extraction plant, or the $500,000 grant for Southland start-up ecosystem COIN South to launch their pilot business support programme.

According to Mr Nash, the PGF has had strong benefits for Māori communities. It has funded training programmes are supporting people into employment, with nearly seven thousand young people, including those not previously in employment, education or training, participating in work skills programmes.

The report was undertaken by independent policy and regulatory specialists Allen + Clarke and looked at how the PGF operates and contributes to regional outcomes. It followed the Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) report, “The impact of the Provincial Growth Fund on the Gisborne economy,” which found that as a result of the PGF investment, Gisborne’s contribution to national GDP is now better than the national average, its businesses are outperforming their rivals elsewhere and there are more, better-paying jobs.

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