Senior government minister Steven Joyce is oiling the wheels in a bid to ensure the last hurdle facing Tauranga's $67 million tertiary campus gets a favourable decision.
Mr Joyce told a National Party-organised election meeting yesterday at Mount Maunganui that the case being put to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) was "pretty good".
He congratulated the Bay of Plenty Regional Council for establishing the $38 million infrastructure fund, of which $15 million had been pledged to the campus planned to be built in Tauranga's downtown.
Another major step towards the project becoming a reality was the decision last month by the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust to match the council's contribution.
Critical to further progress was Government support through the TEC which invests $3 billion a year in tertiary education and training - effectively everything that makes universities and polytechnics tick.
Mr Joyce, whose portfolios include Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, said he was "very supportive" of what the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership was doing.
"The case you put up is a pretty good case," he told the audience of about 100 people who attended the meeting held in Club Mount Maunganui. He was accompanied by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges and National's candidate for the Bay of Plenty Todd Muller.
Mr Joyce, who was careful to point out that he was not speaking on behalf of TEC which made the final decision, told the Bay of Plenty Times afterwards he had been encouraging the commission to look at the tertiary campus fairly closely. "I have been positive but they [the TEC] have to determine it."
The Bay of Plenty Times understands that the tertiary partnership was looking for at least a $5 million-a-year commitment from TEC for the first phase of the campus catering for 500 students.
Mr Joyce's speech focused on the Government's track record and fiscal prudence.
Mr Joyce hinted that National would be delivering another policy announcement on health later this week.
Tauranga's Planned Tertiary Campus
• Expected to generate $55 million in revenue and 270 jobs by 202.
• $30 million funded by TECT and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.
• $24.5 million funded by the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Education Partnership.
• $12.6 million funded by a loan for the final stage of construction.