15 November 2018
$48 million Provincial Growth Fund announcements for the Manawatū-Whanganui Region welcomed
Manawatū-Whanganui regional leaders have welcomed Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones’ announcements
today of over $48 million from government’s Provincial Growth Fund towards a Regional Freight Hub in Palmerston North,
improved digital connectivity for the region, expansion of the National Driver Training Centre at Manfeild, and
investment in an Advanced Aviation Hub in Whanganui.
Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith says today’s $40 million PGF investment for the City will be used by KiwiRail to
complete site master-planning and concept design and secure land, for a Regional Freight Hub that will link rail, road
“The hub is a critical step for integrating central New Zealand’s distribution and logistics networks,” says Mayor
“The exact location is yet to be determined, however KiwiRail is considering options, including in Palmerston North’s
North East Industrial Zone near the rail line and airport. KiwiRail will be doing an options analysis as part of the
Resource Consent process.
“The regional freight hub builds on Accessing Central New Zealand’s focus on improved integrated multimodal air, road,
and rail networks to accelerate exporting from our region to domestic and international markets.
“Under Accelerate25, the region has been successful in progressing a Regional Freight Ring Road for the same area
through NZ Transport Agency’s Te Apiti – Manawatū Gorge replacement route announcement earlier this year. The Detailed
Business Case for the road is due by the end of this year.
“Progressing a Regional Freight Hub in parallel with the Regional Freight Ring Road and Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū
Tararua Highway will bring significant improvements to freight and passenger vehicle movements through the Central North
Island hub of Manawatū, improving travel times and lowering costs.
“A Palmerston North centre for distribution will add value to the whole region. The region is going to be well placed to
attract investment in logistics, manufacturing and processing - which is critical for the region’s future growth and
Minister Jones also announced a Provincial Growth Fund investment of approximately $4.5 million which will be used to
expand the Rural Broadband Initiative Phase Two (RB12), the Mobile Black Spots Fund (MBSF) programme, and make broadband
connectivity available to unserved marae in the region.
“Improved digital connectivity for the region is one of the four identified enablers in the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic
Action Plan,” says Tararua Mayor Tracey Collis.
“Today’s announcement is something our district is particularly pleased to see. Our local community have been working
towards better telecommunications infrastructure solutions through a project called Connect Tararua.
“Landline, cell phone and internet services are crucial to our rural areas, where many businesses run from. Better
connectivity will allow for improved access to markets and quality of life.”
Manawatū Mayor Helen Worboys has welcomed a $2.8 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund towards the
expansion of the National Driver Training Centre (NDTC) in Feilding.
“The investment will be used by the Manfeild Park Trust to expand their current Class 1 driver training programme to
deliver a full suite of driver training, including truck, digger, 4WD, forklift and roller training,” says Mayor
“The courses came about when contractors were crying out for people to work on the MacKays to Peka Peka expressway. This
need will continue to be alleviated in our region, where significant roading projects such as the Manawatū Gorge
alternative route, Regional Freight Ring Road, and Otaki to North of Levin are expected to get underway in the next few
“The NDTC programmes are critical to providing long-term skilled employment for our people, while helping to deliver on
our region’s civil constructions needs.”
The Provincial Growth Fund will also be investing $400,000 towards the establishment of an Advanced Aviation Hub at
Whanganui Airport, as part of the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy (NZICPA).
Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall says the investment will be used to produce a business case for expanding our existing
world-class pilot academy facilities.
“This injection means we can investigate the potential for an advanced simulation centre to enable pilots to undertake
the most up-to-date training,” says Mayor McDouall.
“The NZICPA could become an internationally significant pilot training organisation, attracting more people to our
“A training centre of this kind could support up to 288 students per year, enabling pilots, flight attendants,
aeronautical engineers, and others to gain the qualifications needed for modern commercial aircraft.
“This will be transformative for Whanganui,” says Mayor McDouall.
Accelerate25 lead team facilitator and Horizons Regional Council chief executive Michael McCartney says that today’s
Provincial Growth Fund announcements have enabled these major projects to progress and is another positive step towards
helping the region meet its full potential.
“This includes upskilling our people, creating more jobs, moving products efficiently and effectively, and providing
better connectivity,” says Mr McCartney.
“We have a strong local plan that directly links to central government’s commitment to lifting regional productivity and
ensuring all New Zealanders are able to participate in an economy that is inclusive, sustainable and productive.
“We welcome the ongoing investment in our region.”
Other announcements made for the region included:
$100,000 to investigate FoodHQs development to assist food exporters
$100,000 to assess alternative land utilisation choices in the Tararua District
$98,000 towards Kaitahi Food & Innovation Factory
$95,000 towards establishing an education, training and employment programme at the former site of Turakina Māori Girls’
$60,000 towards the Tararua Tourism & Trails Strategy
$50,000 to investigate education to employment pathways within Horowhenua