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Opotiki To Investigate All Weather Harbour

Opotiki assisted in investigating all weather harbour

A social and economic impact study of proposals to give year round, all weather access and develop commercial boat facilities at Opotiki Harbour, is to go ahead with part-funding from central government, Industry and Regional Development Minister Jim Anderton said today.

The Opotiki District Council is to seek specialist advice on the social and economic impacts of removing the sandbar from the Opotiki Harbour. The easier access given to mussel and large charter boats would support the development of the region’s aquaculture and on-shore processing industry.

A grant of $20,000 comes from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Regional Initiatives Fund. The Ministry for Social Development will also contribute $20,000. The region will fund the remaining $40,000 needed for the study.

“Opening up the harbour has the potential to be a significant catalyst for economic development in the Eastern Bay of Plenty”, Jim Anderton said.

“But the fact is that many smaller local authorities, like the Opotiki District Council, need support to carry out the detailed social and economic impact research to back up a proposal like this.

“This initiative has been identified in the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s regional economic development strategy, and has the potential to create new job opportunities for many New Zealanders,” Jim Anderton said.

The Minister for Regional Development said the purpose of the study is to assess and document the impact of the harbour development on the Eastern Bay of Plenty region. This will provide information that the region needs to develop a sound business case as well as informing potential funding organisations about the value of the development.

Editor’s Note:

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 a legal entity. 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.

Funding is only paid out on the completion of agreed milestones, and is monitored by the Ministry of Economic Development.

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