The Wellbeing Budget offers some steps in the right direction for Taranaki’s economy and its communities says the region’s development agency.

“The 2019 Budget offers some new initiatives that could have a positive impact on the region, whether that’s through investment in clean energy or looking at initiatives to improve the lives of those in our community in need,” says Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Justine Gilliland.  

At the top of the list, $27 million to fund the establishment and operation of the National New Energy Development Centre based in Taranaki was announced at the Just Transitions Summit on 9 May. Funding was confirmed in the Budget.

“The National New Energy Development Centre will be an important step in helping new energy innovation become commercial, and a critical step in the transition to a low-emission economy.

“Initiatives around sustainable land use, meeting climate change challenges, and additional funding for Te Uru Rākau all support aspirations of dramatically reducing New Zealand’s carbon footprint, and Taranaki understands the need to get this transition right.

Similarly, the launch of a $300 million venture capital fund and further programmes to foster innovation have the potential to foster economic growth in the region.

“Taranaki is home to many great ideas, as the current Idea Summit start-up competition is proving. This announcement reinforces the value of innovative thinking and applying that thinking to business applications. There’s no reason that Taranaki can’t continue to be a net exporter of great ideas and goods.”

Similarly, investment into skills development, vocational training reform and helping school leavers into work have the potential to make a positive impact on the region’s employment landscape.

“As a region with a strong and valued rural community we are conscious of the mental health pressures put on those working in this sector. Initiatives to foster and support mental wellness, in this space and right across our community, are to be commended,” Justine said.

“Similarly, announcements to better support the less fortunate members of our community can help improve lives in Taranaki and ensure the gains we make as a region leave fewer people behind.”

“Taranaki is leading the charge on the move to clean energy and has achievable aspirations to become a global leader in lifestyle. The Wellbeing Budget has some initiatives that should help lay the foundations for that legendary lifestyle to be enjoyed by all.”