Te Waka initiative launched

Economic Development Minister Shane Jones told the economic development summit that the government is looking for cases where the Provincial Growth Fund can improve infrastructure in the regions. Seated is the chair of Te Waka, Dallas Fisher.

Economic Development Minister Shane Jones formally launched a two-day economic development summit at Karapiro recently, asking the 250 key business leaders to dig deep and come up with ideas to drive prosperity in the region.

“You know your community better than I do…you serve up projects and we will meet you half way and fund the projects,” he said at the launch on August 30, adding that the Government is particularly keen on cases where infrastructure can be improved in the regions.

The Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency which was hosting the summit, was renamed Te Waka: Anga Whakamua Waikato: Waikato moving forward, in an announcement by the agency’s chair, Dallas Fisher.

“Te Waka signifies what drives us, what binds us, and what propels us forward,” Dallas said.

Reiterating that the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund – $3 billion to be spread over 3 years – is designed to get his figurative ‘nephs’ (nephews) off the couch, Minister Jones reminded the audience that the greatest gift a region has is its people.

He then joined Dallas Fisher in making the first carvings in the agency’s ceremonial waka outside.

Initiatives and potential projects from the two-day summit will be presented to Minister Jones later this year.

Among the attendees at the summit launch were Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Associate Minister Māori Development Hon Willie Jackson, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau, alongside Waikato MPs, regional mayors and local business leaders.

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