An innovation and enterprise park at Ngāwhā has moved a step closer with $19.5 million from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund.
The PGF is providing up to $19.5 million to boost innovative primary sector businesses and create training and job opportunities for Northlanders through the construction of an innovation and enterprise park at Ngāwhā, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced in Kaikohe today.
The investment will go towards finalising pre-construction work at the site near Kaikohe and building infrastructure and services such as earthworks, roading, water and power.
The funding comes after the PGF gave $897,000 to Far North Holdings towards a business case for the park in 2019.
"The construction of the Ngāwhā Innovation and Enterprise Park will be a major infrastructure project for the region which could change the lives of many locals in an area of high economic deprivation," Jones said.
When stage 1 of the park is up and running it is expected to provide around 250 new full-time jobs and 50 training roles a year. These numbers are expected to grow to around 500 as further development takes place.
The park, on a 204ha former dairy farm on the northern side of State Highway 12 at Ngāwhā, aims to bring together complementary businesses which can scale up manufacturing high-value primary sector products and invest in research and development.
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"Like-minded, innovative businesses will create economies of scale through co-location at the park and benefit from new infrastructure and low energy costs. There are plans for the park to include an innovation and education centre to train and develop locals, and on-site labs," Jones said.
He said building could start on the park this year, creating around 150 construction jobs.
"This build will get money circulating in this region. Over the long-term the facility will attract businesses and jobs and add to the social and economic wellbeing of local people," he said.
Potential park tenants include businesses in food manufacturing, bioenergy, horticulture, research and development, and trades training for the production of low-cost, pre-fabricated timber social housing.
"This park, which has the backing of stakeholders including local iwi will be a game-changer for Kaikohe which has struggled to attract private investment in the past due to its relative distance, lack of infrastructure and trained workforce," Jones said.
Far North Holdings, the commercial arm of the Far North District Council, will receive the funding.
In June the Government announced $37.5 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for a water storage dam at Ngāwhā, 7km from Kaikohe.