Matamata-Piako District Council submitted two applications to the fund following a meeting with Economic Development Minister Shane Jones in August when he visited the district.
Approval of Council’s applications were announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today at a lunch at Dalton’s Plantation in Matamata, organised by Te Waka (Waikato’s regional economic development agency).
The two approved projects are for $900,000 towards a feasibility study and business investment case for a Te Aroha tourism precinct and $800,000 towards a feasibility study for a Waharoa industry hub.
“I’m excited to be in Matamata today to announce Government investment towards initial work on projects which could unlock huge potential in the area and capitalise on strong forecast growth in the Waikato region,” Jacinda Ardern says.
“The Matamata-Piako District is well placed to build on its strategic location between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga – the so-called Golden Triangle. The completion of the Waikato Expressway in 2020 will further enhance transport linkages across the region and local people are keen to build on this opportunity.“
The development of Waharoa as an industrial hub was supported by local businesses Balle Brothers, Inghams, Open Country Dairy and Wallace Corp whom each pledged $25,000, in principle, towards the development of the Waharoa industry hub.
Funding approval was welcome news to Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes, who said feasibility studies would provide a better understanding of how to increase the productivity potential of the Waikato region, boost the local economy, develop the use of natural resources and help the region to grow.
“These kind of opportunities to enhance economic development, create sustainable jobs, partner with iwi, and build resilient communities are exactly what the Provincial Growth Fund is all about,” she said.
Mayor Jan said over the past few years Council had developed strong business relationships with key industry leaders who either operate from or have made strong indications of setting up business in Waharoa.
She said the major constraint for industrial growth to occur in Waharoa and attract significant investment into the area is the provision of sufficient water and waste water services and gas supply.
“We want to meet these needs as well as increase housing, upskill Maori youth and secure local employment to allow them to remain living with their rohe, overall creating a real vibrancy in Waharoa.”
“For Te Aroha, a health and wellbeing centre could be a catalyst for future proofing tourism growth opportunities for Te Aroha and the wider district,” she said.
Hamilton and Waikato Tourism CEO Jason Dawson said Te Aroha had been identified in the 2016 Tourism Opportunities Plan as an area to develop for a health and wellbeing hub within the region.
“With the development of a health and well-being precinct at Te Aroha, it would provide a broader visitor proposition to encourage visitors to the town, engage with local activities, stay longer and spend more,” he said.
The Hamilton and Waikato Region has shared in the national tourism growth, with visitors spending $1.53b in 12 months to June 2018.
Hamilton and Waikato Tourism statistics show guests stayed an average of 1.91 nights in the Matamata-Piako district and contributed $160m to the local economy in the last financial year.
“The significant benefit of increased visitation would bolster the local economy and generate employment opportunities for Te Aroha across the entire sector – from Te Aroha Mineral Spas through to retail, hospitality and accommodation,” said Jason.
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For more information contact:
Matamata-Piako District Council
07 884 0060