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Provincial Growth Fund announcement at Whanganui’s port

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall says a $26.75 million funding announcement from the Provincial Growth Fund for Whanganui’s port revitalisation is welcome news for the district.

The announcement, delivered by Regional Economic Development Minister, the Hon Shane Jones, at the port today, will see allocations from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund invested in the port across four applicants - Horizons Regional Council, Whanganui District Council, Q-West Boat Builders and the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust.

Mayor McDouall says, "These projects will create hundreds of jobs for local people and ensure that Tupua te Kawa, the values associated with the legal framework of Te Awa Tupua, are upheld."

Whanganui iwi organisations, Ngā Tangata Tiaki o Whanganui and the Whanganui Land Settlement Negotiations Trust, together with both councils, recently announced a new governance structure for the lower Whanganui River infrastructure and port redevelopment and the project has been renamed Te Puwaha (the river mouth or gateway).

Mayor McDouall says, "This will see three infrastructure projects merged under a more inclusive model of governance and operation, which will be managed as a community-led exercise under the new legal status of the Whanganui River as Te Awa Tupua. Tupua te Kawa will be central to everything we do."

He says Te Puwaha represents the first phase of the Whanganui Port revitalisation. "Today’s funding will enable us to reinstate our failing port infrastructure and build new facilities to make our port viable.

"A bold new marine precinct will be created and an employment base will ensure people are taken care of and jobs for Whanganui people are at the heart of this revitalisation right from the start.

"As we begin to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on the local and global economy, this support for Whanganui from central government is well-timed and very welcome."

Myles Fothergill, Managing Director of Q-West Boat Builders, says he envisages Whanganui being a major New Zealand centre for marine development. "My project involves creating a world-class marine precinct at the Whanganui Port. Along with neighbouring businesses, I’d expect to be looking at 80 new jobs created as a result."

Sally Ross, Chair of the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust, says a port employment precinct will be co-located at the port. She says, "The facility will upskill employees working on PGF-funded port projects through supported on-the-job and classroom-based learning, and connect employers with potential candidates.

"We anticipate this becoming a comprehensive information hub for employers, potential employees and the general public, where they can come in and explore the opportunities the port will have to offer."

Mayor McDouall says, "We very much appreciate this support from the Provincial Growth Fund and look forward to rolling our sleeves up and getting to work."

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