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Regional and local economic development

27 June 2005

Funding for study into centre for regional and local economic development

The Economic Development Association of New Zealand (EDANZ) has been awarded $62,000 to investigate the potential benefits of a Centre for Regional and Local Economic Development, Jim Anderton, Minister for Industry and Regional Development, announced today.

The grant is from the Ministry of Economic Development’s Regional Initiatives Fund (RIF). EDANZ is a national body promoting economic development, business growth and export opportunities in New Zealand.

“The study will identify the activities a centre for regional and local economic development could undertake, explore the need for the centre, provide options for how a centre could be funded, and suggest where a centre could be located.

“Currently, expertise in economic development education and research is spread throughout New Zealand across a range of different public and private organisations. The study will also review the work of these organisations, provide a stocktake of the expertise available and consider how the centre could build on that activity without duplicating services,” Jim Anderton said.

The idea of a Centre for Regional and Local Economic Development was first suggested in 2002. Since then a number of groups have developed the concept further, including the Auckland University of Technology, Lincoln University and the University of Waikato.

“It is now time to undertake an independent study, that investigates the benefits such a centre could bring, while making recommendations on funding and location options. The RIF funding provides a mechanism for this to happen, and all regions have the potential to benefit,” Jim Anderton said.


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 are funded through the RIF 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, that is determined on a case-by-case basis. A ‘local contribution’ is an essential part of any RIF application.

The RIF provides 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. A region is defined as a geographical concentration of communities with similar economic, social and environmental characteristics and objectives.

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


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