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Review panel being established for regional development fund

8 October 2019

An independent review panel is being set up by Waikato Regional Council to assess four applications to its regional development fund.

The fund was set up through the regional council’s 2015-2025 Long Term Plan to support regionally significant projects which primarily enable economic development. This development must occur in a way that provides a win-win for both the economy and the environment.

Council chief executive Vaughan Payne said, “We’re excited to work with potential partners on their green growth ideas.

“While we established this fund several years ago, councillors have wanted it to develop in size before awarding monies so a meaningful contribution can be made,” Mr Payne said.

“We’re particularly keen to identify ways to make ratepayer money go further by leveraging opportunities between our fund and the Provincial Growth Fund set up by the Government in 2017,” he said.

Expressions of interest are being sought from people wanting to be on the independent review group comprising between three and five people. Applications close on Monday, 28 October.

The group will be responsible for making recommendations to council on whether to fund a project, how much it should receive, whether it should be provided as a grant or loan, and what conditions should be attached.

To be selected, Mr Payne said the successful applicants will need to have demonstrated:

• competence and understanding of the Waikato Regional Council Regional Development Fund Policy and council’s needs relating to the assessment of funding proposals

• proven experience of providing high quality, value-adding business, financial, investment and risk analysis and services at a governance level

• strategic vision and sound judgement

• understanding of environmental, social and cultural issues and opportunities for the Waikato region

• knowledge of the Waikato regional economy and the national and international economic context.

In making their decisions, it’s expected the group will take into account Waikato Means Business (the Waikato regional economic development strategy), the national context and economic relationships with neighbouring and complementary regions.

Money for the regional development fund comes from revenue from the council’s investment fund, after subsidising rates and allowing for inflation-proofing. By the end of 2018/19, the council had almost $5 million redirected to the regional development fund.

Waikato Regional Council will consider investing up to 50 per cent of project costs on a case-by-case basis, and any investment decisions will be at the discretion of the council.

To help potential project partners through the funding process, a procedures manual has been developed and is available on request from the council.

More information on the fund, and applying to be on the independent review panel, is available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/regional-development-fund.


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