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Three Regions Awarded $6 Million In Funding

13 May 2002

Three Regions Awarded $6 Million In Funding From Industry NZ To Date

Three regions have now had funding totalling up to $6 million approved under the Major Regional Initiatives component of Industry New Zealand’s Regional Partnership Programme.

The regions and projects to have each received funding approval of up to $2 million to date are:

The Waikato Innovation Park in Hamilton (approved and announced in December 2001)

The Waikato Innovation Park will:

- provide a focus for the generation and location of businesses from research and ideas emerging from the University and Crown Research Institutes in the Waikato

- facilitate the commercialisation of technology involving the public and the private sector

- contribute to sustainable economic development for the Waikato Region and New Zealand

The proposal builds on the natural advantage of the area - including the concentration of some of the country’s top scientists around the University of Waikato and the Crown Research Institutes based at Ruakura. Once completed it is anticipated the park will provide an increase in growth to the Waikato of 4% and provide up to 2500 new jobs.

The project also fits Industry New Zealand’s goal of fostering enterprise and innovation by turning intellectual property into commercial enterprise.

There are a number of conditions attached to the grant including guaranteed local commitment to the project, signed up tenants for the facilities, a detailed project plan and regular reporting to ensure the project is on track.

The park requires a further $6 million in funding from other sources before it gets underway. It is then projected to become self funding growing to a $12.5 million facility over 5 hectares in years one to four. The ongoing expansion of the project is expected to reach $180 million over the 20 hectare site.

The National Centre of Excellence in Wood Processing Education and Training in Rotorua (announced on 9 May 2002).

The proposed Centre will help overcome the shortage of skilled workers, engineers, technologists and researchers in wood processing - the people whose knowledge can be put into practice to help New Zealand to create wood products that attract higher prices and bigger margins in export markets. New Zealand’s plantation wood volumes will double over the next 20 years and New Zealand needs to have the skills in place to get the most value from wood exports that we can. The potential benefit to our national economy amounts to billions of dollars.

The Centre will also stimulate significant national, regional and Maori economic development.

The funding is towards a development phase project for the Centre costing $2,670,000, with the Forest Industries Training and Education Council, Waiariki Institute of Technology and the University of Auckland, who are behind the initiative, contributing the balance. A further implementation phase costing an estimated $10-12 million will be funded from a mix of industry and public sources.

The Rotorua District Council, local Maori and Forest Research (Crown Research Institute) are also strongly supportive of the proposal.

The Wine Research Centre of Excellence in Marlborough (announced on 10 May 2002)

The Marlborough wine industry has huge significance not just locally but nationally, with approximately 50 percent of the value of New Zealand wine exports coming from the region. The establishment of the Wine Research Centre of Excellence means it can become even more successful as greater knowledge and innovation is applied to the wine industry and translated into higher export earnings.

Industry New Zealand’s funding of the Centre will help create a partnership between industry, research and education that will generate economic and social benefits and create better educational and employment opportunities for the whole Marlborough region.

The Wine Research Centre of Excellence is an initiative of the Marlborough Economic Development Trust and the Marlborough District Council. The Centre is to be established on the Blenheim campus of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology. The $2 million in funding from Industry New Zealand will be used for constructing and equipping the facility, with operational costs met by the wine industry.

Regional Partnership Programme and Major Regional Initiatives

Industry New Zealand’s Regional Partnerships Programme aims to help regions to realise their potential. The Programme is not about grants for one-off initiatives. Funding goes to proposals developed by "communities of interest", working together for long-term sustainable growth for their region.

Successful proposals will involve a cross section of agencies and organisations such as business groups, local government, iwi, economic development agencies and community groups, implementing an agreed strategy.

Co-operation rather than competition is the key - between region stakeholders, and the government.

The programme provides funding for:

- Up to $100,000 per region for strategic planning

- Up to $100,000 each year for building the necessary capability to implement strategic plans

- Up to $2 million for a Major Regional Initiative.

Regions are also required to contribute to funding, and progression to the next stage is not automatic or guaranteed.

To date, 25 out of 26 regions have had funding approval totalling $2.7million for strategic planning, and 17 out of 26 have had funding approval for capability building, totalling $1.5 million.

The overall aim of the Major Regional Initiatives programme is to support proposals from regions that contribute to a smarter, innovative, responsible, internationally-focused New Zealand as a potent force for higher growth. Proposals considered for funding will have an emphasis on promoting higher economic growth within a region.

Further funding for other Major Regional Initiatives is expected to be approved by Industry NZ over the next few months.


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