VT welcome today's further investment announcements at launch of Ara Ake

Venture Taranaki today welcomed the announcement of a further $48 million of additional regional investment, across seven infrastructure projects as the Regional Development Agency celebrated the official launch of the national new energy centre, Ara Ake, by Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern, and Minister for Energy and Resources, Hon Dr Megan Woods.

These critical infrastructure projects will help to provide immediate job creation and economic support, as well as lasting regional improvements, and regional attraction opportunities.

“It’s fantastic to see these projects announced today”, said Venture Taranaki CE, Justine Gilliland.
The announcements bring the region’s total investment from the Government’s $3 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects nationally to $85 million.

The announcements came on the back of the Prime Ministerial launch of Ara Ake, the nation’s National New Energy Development Centre that the Government committed funding to in 2019. Ara Ake was launched today as its own legal entity, after the establishment project was successfully delivered by Venture Taranaki on time, and on budget.

“Today was a significant day for our region, with the launch of our nationally and internationally significant new energy research and development centre Ara Ake – which is set to become a guiding light for new energy development, and will play a huge role in continuing to position Taranaki as a leader in energy.”

“The launch today was only made better by the Prime Minister’s infrastructure announcements, at a time when our region, like many others, is in need of immediate job creation, and economic support,” explained Gilliland.

Among the announcements, are the repairs and redevelopment of the deemed unsafe, earthquake-prone building Yarrow Stadium, with a commitment of $20 million from Government, and co-funding from Taranaki Regional Council to bring it back to full use, while creating economic stimulus and jobs.

“We’re pleased to see some momentum gain on this significant regional venue, along with the signalled 150 jobs that are set to come from the project,” says Justine.

The other projects include the replacement of the Stratford aquatic facility, $8 million; the Mawhitiwhiti Kanihi Pa build, $5 million; Nukumaru Station Road construction, $7 million; Te Ramanui o Ruaputahanga, Hawera Library, Culture and Arts Centre, $3 million; Dawson Falls Lodge development, $3 million; and $2 million towards a Children’s cycling education park and half basketball court.

 “As well as creating immediate job opportunities in our region, and ongoing employment, many of these projects also bring with them long term community impact, developing further visitor and tourism opportunities and building on and improving our community facilities that make Taranaki such a fantastic place to live, learn and work and play,” confirms Justine.

Justine explains that there’s some great investment right around the Maunga, noting the spread of investments across many critical community-based initiatives.

“Although all infrastructure based, the diverse nature of these projects is reflective of Taranaki as a region, our districts, our communities, and the range of people and passions that make this place so rich and unique.”

“From arts, culture, and community - to visitor attractions and destination development, sporting and leisure, it’s pleasing to see a wide range of projects supported, and that there is investment across all three districts.”

“Not only is today’s announcement a springboard for regional opportunity and economic endurance, it also acknowledges and celebrates the hard work that has gone into many of these projects already to get them to this point,” notes Justine.

“Congratulations to all of those people who have played a part in getting these projects to this announcement today, and to those who helped catalysed this significant investment for the Taranaki region, ultimately providing very real and tangible job opportunities at a point in our post-COVID regional recovery where we need them most.”

The $48m announced today is alongside the earlier announcement of $37m for NPDC’s thermal dryer project, bringing the total to $85m for Taranaki.