It's onwards and upwards for Kawerau with Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announcing a $19.9 million boost for the town - part of the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund.

$9.6 million will be invested into the construction of a rail siding at the town's local container terminal.

$7.5 million is to be invested into roading, aiming to connect industrial land with existing roading by adding a roundabout on State Highway 34.

The remainder goes into a new 1.6km off-highway road to be used by heavy vehicles.

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"It is tremendous," said Malcolm Campbell, Mayor of Kawerau. "We did have this promised to us little over a year ago, now it's come to fruition."

"It's so important for this community, not only for the community of Kawerau but the whole of the Eastern Bay of Plenty.

"To have an industrial park very close to Kawerau is just phenomenal as far as work opportunities go for young people.

"I think it's important that the smaller towns, the smaller regions are fed some of that putea. There is a lot of people out there on the breadline, they need to be brought up to the rest of the country as best as they possibly can.

"Murupara is a prize example of what's happened over there and the $9 million that went into Murupara. It's changed the place around. Minginui likewise, so yeah. I think there's a whole lot of synergies there for all small rural towns of New Zealand to do better with the help of the Provincial Growth Fund."

Campbell says the biggest problem associated with the grants has been the wait for confirmation.

"It's very hard to bring people's expectations up and then string them out. Some of these people haven't had employment... at all, some families it's three generations, so it really has given them a bit of a boost in the last 12 months or so.

"This is just the icing on the cake."

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