Whanganui Port gets PGF boost

3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 3, 2020

Five port-related projects in Whanganui will receive a $26.75 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to support local economic recovery and create new opportunities for growth, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

“This is a significant investment that will support the redevelopment of the Whanganui Port, a project governed by a partnership of iwi, local and regional councils,” Jones said.

“Collectively, these projects will create hundreds of jobs for local people, uphold the wellbeing of Te Awa Tupua, protect key infrastructure from environmental changes and ensure a viable future for local assets. This will enable Wanganui to continue to grow economically and culturally.”

These projects receiving PGF support are:

  • $12.5 million equity investment – Port Infrastructure project

  • $7.5 million grant – Lower River Infrastructure project

  • $5.25 million loan – Q-West Boat Builders

  • $1.5 million Te Ara Mahi funding – Port Employment Precinct

“Through PGF investment in the Port Infrastructure project, Whanganui District Council will upgrade wharves, develop marine infrastructure and improve dredging capabilities. This will enhance the local boat building and marine industry,” Jones said.

“The project to redevelop Whanganui Port, now known as Te Puwaha, is a cornerstone of the Manawatu-Whanganui action plan, Accelerate 25 and the action plan for Maori economic development, Te Pae Tawhiti. More recently the Regional Economic Recovery Taskforce for Manawatu-Whanganui recognised the project as a priority for the economic recovery of the region.”

Horizons Regional Council will use the investment to repair moles and other river training structures that control the alignment of the lower Whanganui River. This will protect nearby developments and critical city infrastructure from flooding, and provide marine access from the sea to the port.

A PGF loan for Q-West Boat Builders will help establish a purpose-built facility and 300 tonne vessel hoist for new builds, repairs, and maintenance services within the Port, while employing 30 staff and creating an estimated 80 additional jobs with neighbouring businesses.

The Port Employment Precinct (PEP) will be established and run by the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust. The PEP will connect local people with jobs created by the Port redevelopment and facilitate on-the-job and classroom-based training.

“As communities continue to feel the impact of COVID-19, projects like this are essential to upskill employees, and to connect employers with potential candidates,” Jones said.

“Investing in training, infrastructure and redevelopments now will ensure the Whanganui district and wider region are able to take full advantage of new economic growth opportunities.”