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PGF backing regions through loans

More than $48 million in loans from the Provincial Growth Fund will be pumped into regional projects that will help offset the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

"While this Government has responded quickly to the need for short- and medium-term support for Kiwis, businesses and industry, we are also working on a comprehensive long-term economic recovery package.

"Finalising these Provincial Growth Fund loans and getting this much-needed capital into the regions over the next few months will aid longer-term economic stability and create sustainable jobs in the regions.

"They are proof of the commitment we have to supporting our regions and the confidence we have that they will recover economically from what has been a devastating blow for some regions and sectors," Shane says.

The projects receiving loans include water storage projects and horticulture development on under-utilised land and include iwi and council ventures.

"These projects are going to make a real social and economic difference in their communities. Our regions will play a large role in the recovery of our economy and we need to channel every dollar of PGF funding we can into supporting them and the communities within them," Shane says.

The nine initiatives receiving loans totalling $48.4m are:

– Raukokore River Water Ltd, water storage project – $10.6m

– Wai o Kaha Gold JV Ltd Partnership, kiwifruit orchard development – $5m

– Wairarapa Water Limited, community water storage – $7m

РWhakatane District Council and Ngati Awa, Whakatane riverfront revitalisation Р$9.6m

РTe Rahui Lands Trust, Ngati Awa Group Holdings and Whakatane District Council Р$4.7m

– Te Waka Pupuri Putea Trust, Awanui water storage project (Far North) – $3m

– Hineuru Iwi Trust – Hineuru cherry orchard development – $4.3m

– Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Tukituki water storage development phase – $2.5m

– Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Heretaunga Plains water storage development phase – $1.7m

Some of these loans will be paid in tranches and ongoing payments are subject to conditions that include reaching key milestones.

"When making loans, the Provincial Development Unit considers a range of public benefits such as contribution to regional economic growth, job creation, skills development and improving environmental, cultural and social indicators that commercial banks don’t typically consider," Shane says.

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