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Help for business affected by North Island floods

Government to help local businesses affected by North Island floods

Regional efforts to assess the economic impact of February's crippling North Island floods are to receive support from the Ministry of Economic Development, Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development, Jim Anderton announced today.

"I am pleased to announce that the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) is to allocate $42,525 from the Regional Initiatives Fund to assess the short and medium term economic impact of the floods on non-agricultural businesses. This is a good first step toward helping businesses that have been affected.

"While the most severely impacted area of the economy is clearly the primary sector, local businesses in these regions have been badly affected too.

"The study is being done to find out how flooding has affected businesses so we can then work out how best to help with business rehabilitation and regional economic recovery. The focus of the work is on both the short term (the first six months) and the medium term (up to eighteen months).

"I was pleased at the high level of co-operation in this process. The affected regions are contributing staff and management time, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise staff are leading assistance and MED is providing some funding. This is a good example of a partnership approach to regional economic development," Jim Anderton said.

The study will assess the immediate and flow-on effects of the flooding on these businesses, and how the economic development agencies can best support them. It will involve personal contact with businesses in the regions to identify their needs in the recovery phase.

The Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) is a discretionary fund administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. The Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development assesses all applications.

The RIF is used to give a boost to funding for regional projects that fall outside the criteria of existing Government assistance programmes, but have the potential to leverage economic growth as well as meet government objectives for economic, social and environmental development.

The study has been commissioned by Enterprise Midwest, a company owned by Enterprise Horowhenua, Vision Manawatu and Enterprise Wanganui.

NZTE, through the BIZ Enterprise framework, is to provide additional training and support for businesses to cope with the initial recovery.

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