A $19.9 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund which will create 150 jobs in Kawerau has been described as the start of a new era in the town.
Kawerau mayor Malcolm Campbell said the value of the funding would enable new industries and development that would be located in Kawerau but would benefit the entire Eastern Bay.
"This will accelerate new opportunities and business growth – but most importantly, our communities will benefit," Campbell said.
He acknowledged today's provincial growth fund investment announcement at Firmin Lodge in Kawerau was the culmination of a concerted effort by several key partners including the Putauaki Trust and began with the formation of Industrial Symbiosis Kawerau (ISK) in 2011.
"ISK was formed to enhance opportunities for industrial development and business growth in the district with the support of key partners such as the Putauaki Trust, existing wood and fibre processing operations, Maori business, Toi-EDA and service groups."
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, in Kawerau to make the announcement, said the funding would go to three projects to further develop the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub.
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The Kawerau Container Terminal will get a $9.6m cash injection, the Putauaki Trust roading extension and infrastructure will get $7.5m, while the Kawerau Off-Highway Road will get a $2.8m investment.
Jones said the industrial hub needed a rail link to transport goods and connect heavy industry in the Bay of Plenty to global markets.
The construction of rail siding at the Kawerau Container Terminal will allow for easy loading and unloading of containers and will take the pressure off roads in the town, he said.
The Kawerau Off-Highway Rd will be a new 1.6km stretch direct to the Kawerau Container Terminal.
Toi-EDA and Industrial Symbiosis Kawerau (ISK) chairman David Turner said the Kawerau Putauaki Industrial Development (KPID) project represented years of effort from a number of parties "who were committed to transforming outcomes in Kawerau".
"The vision is to maximise the probability of success for business by providing critical infrastructure to reduce waste and connect industry. Our hope is that this will attract more businesses to the region, creating employment opportunities for our people. We are very grateful for the support of this government to accelerate this development," Mr Turner said.
Putauaki Trust general manager John O'Brien agreed the funding enabled the start of the journey.
"Our driving kaupapa with the industrial zoning of the Putauaki whenua is all about the creation of jobs for the rangatahi of today and tomorrow.
"The Putauaki Trust believes this funding will enable long-term, sustainable business which will benefit the Kawerau District and also the wider region."
O'Brien said, "The Putauaki Trust was incredibly humbled and grateful for the funding from Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and the PGF Investment team which continued to be a champion of the regions."
In 2018, the Putauaki Trust Industrial Hub received $2m for the first stage of construction.
Jones described the announcement as an exceptional example of the Government partnering with Māori, local council, businesses and the community to create a landmark change for the future of Kawerau.