A new $200 million Government fund to support post-Covid recovery has been welcomed by Whanganui and Manawatū regional leaders.
Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund, designed to support the regions and build regional economies, during a speech at an economic development conference in Palmerston North on Thursday.
Members of Manawatū-Whanganui economic development group Accelerate25 and regional leaders were present at the announcement, and welcomed what they described as an "important commitment" to enabling regional economies.
"To confirm central government will continue prioritising regional economic development is excellent news as we build on the next phase to establish the Central North Island as a growth centre for the New Zealand economy," Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney said.
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"[Thursday's] visit by the minister was an opportunity to meet him and present the economic priorities for our region, along with the gains we have made thanks to previous Provincial Growth Funding investments."
Regional leaders presented an overview and history of Accelerate25, along with a refresh of the region's economic development programme and renewed priorities.
"We are proud of the achievements we have made to date, thanks to nearly $250m in Provincial Growth Funding investment in our region," McCartney said.
"This funding has covered a wide range of projects in sectors from tourism to agriculture, transport and skills and training.
"As a region, we have built a strong relationship with central government's Provincial Development Unit and look forward to continuing that relationship under their new name - Kānoa, or the Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit."