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Study into establishing business park in Oamaru


Infrastructure study into establishing business park in Oamaru

An infrastructure study to investigate issues surrounding the establishment of a food-based business park in Oamaru is to be carried out with the support of central government funding, Economic Development Minister, Jim Anderton, said today.

A grant of $90,000 from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Regional Initiatives Fund will be provided to fund the study. The Waitaki District Council will use it to pay for specialist advice on infrastructure improvements needed to service such a development and research on the likely social and economic benefits.

Jim Anderton said information from the studies would allow the Waitaki District Council and Japanese food technology company Nikken Seil to work out cost-sharing and funding arrangements for such things as new sewerage and water supply lines.

“Like many smaller local authorities the Waitaki District Council doesn’t have the resources 'in house' to carry out the detailed infrastructure assessment and socio-economic impact research you need for a project like this," Jim Anderton said.

Nikken Seil is proposing a Health and Ecology Business Park on 20 hectares of industrial land in northern Oamaru. The proposal includes a biotech food centre which could be developed to grow produce for research, processing, biotechnology applications, and foods with specific health attributes.

"Officials advise that the proposed food-based business park could help to enhance the economic strengths of the Waitaki Region, with the potential to create new job opportunities for New Zealanders," the Progressive leader said.

There is some interest in the wider Otago region to establish an Otago-wide food and biotechnology-based major regional initiative.

"If such a Major Regional Initiative does emerge from local efforts in the future, clearly it would complement, and benefit from, a successful Oamaru-based food technology business park," Jim Anderton said.

Background:

The Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF) is a discretionary fund administered by the Ministry of Economic Development. Each application is sent to the Minister for Economic, Industry and Regional Development for approval.

On average 20 projects through RIF are funded in each year. RIF grants range in value between $28,000 to $200,000 with most between $50,000 and $70,000. The majority of RIF grants are paid to territorial local authorities. In some cases, the council holds the money on behalf of groups that are not legal entities.

Each application is based on partial funding on a case by case basis. A ‘local contribution’ is an essential part of any RIF application.

The purpose of the RIF is to provide support for regional projects that are consistent with economic, social and environmental objectives but cannot be funded through other Government assistance programmes. A region is defined as a geographical concentration of communities with similar economic, social and environmental characteristics and objectives.

The Regional Initiatives Fund was created to provide catalyst 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.

Funds are paid out on the completion of agreed milestones.

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