June 17, 2020
PGF pushes iwi to centre of regional growth
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says the Provincial Growth Fund has been a chance to shepherd Māori leadership into the centre of economic thinking.
The $3 billion fund has been largely allocated, with some $60 million of the remaining fund being directed to job schemes that can help with the COVID-19 recovery.
Many of the projects, such as the Ōpōtiki Wharf or the refurbishment of Whanganui’s Sargeant Art Gallery, would not have gone ahead without government support.
Mr Jones says the process highlighted the dislocation of Māori leadership from the provincial mainstream economic thinking.
"Historically that has been the preserve of local councils, it's been dominated by farmers and a host of other stakeholders who if they haven't been strangers to the Māori experience, they've felt very uncomfortable about it. But with the Provincial Growth Fund we have insisted people integrate their efforts because that is the future of New Zealand," he says.
Mr Jones says the advantage for the new generation of iwi leaders is it shows respect for the legitimacy of the Māori perspective and recognises Māori resources include not only land but heritage and identity.
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