Two economic development projects championed by the Far North District Council’s commercial trading and asset management arm, Far North Holdings, are to receive almost $7 million of government funding, primarily from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) launched by the Minister of Regional Economic Development, Shane Jones, in Gisborne today.

They are:

  • a new interpretive gallery and workshop for arts, culture, environment and education in Kawakawa ($2.3 million)
  • a cultural heritage tourism and education centre in Opononi that celebrates the role of Kupe in the settlement and development of Aotearoa ($4.6 million)

These projects will be financed through a range of funding streams which Far North Holdings has been either fully or partly responsible for arranging, of which the PGF is only one.

Far North Holdings continues to work with government on securing PGF support for four other projects spanning the length and breadth of the Far North:

  • a new terminal at Bay of Islands Airport
  • upgrades to Paihia and Russell wharves
  • an events and super-yacht pontoon in Opua

“These are all worthwhile initiatives with real and significant social, cultural and economic benefits for our district,” said Far North Holdings chief executive Andy Nock.

“They will create significant opportunity for tourism product development, which will create employment opportunities for local people and encourage further the growth of new and existing industries on both coasts.”

Mr Nock met with Minister of Regional Economic Development Shane Jones in Kerikeri in January to explain how all the projects work in unison to boost economic development right across the district.

“We’re extremely happy with this result and keen to push ahead with government, local communities and business owners to bring all these projects to fruition so that they can start delivering benefits for the people of our district,” Mr Nock said.

“It’s wonderful to see some meaningful and consultation-led regional investment at last and Far North Holdings would like to thank the Minister and officials at MBIE for the confidence they have demonstrated in the potential of our district.

“For many years now there has been a lot of talk about how to address the economic imbalance in the regions, which included the Far North, and it is great to see this being addressed by Government. And, more importantly, followed up on so quickly in a direct attempt to counter this imbalance.”

In addition to managing Far North infrastructure on behalf of ratepayers, Far North Holdings promotes investment and employment across the district. It uses its assets and expertise to help local businesses and communities identify commercial potential and make the most of opportunities that come their way. Its focus is on maximising the economic potential of the Far North, for the benefit of all ratepayers.

For more than a decade 50 percent of FNHL’s trading surplus has been distributed to the Far North District Council or reinvested in property and infrastructure. Without this income, general rates across the District would have been about four percent higher each year.