Whakatāne District Mayor Judy Turner is joining with her Eastern Bay colleagues in Kawerau and Ōpōtiki to congratulate them on the significant funding investments announced last week by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.

The announcements include a $79.4 million Central Government investment into the Ōpōtiki harbour development, $19.9 million for three projects in the Kawerau Putauaki Industrial Hub, and $10.6 million for a new water storage facility in Raukokere.

Mayor Turner is one of the many regional leaders championing the Eastern Bay of Plenty collaboration which has been working to achieve better outcomes for all. “These announcements have confirmed a commitment to our region by Central Government and triggered what is likely to be the most exciting period of development that has been seen in the Eastern Bay region for some time.”

Mayor Turner says the Regional Growth Leadership Group was established to drive this work. “The Group is sponsored by local MP Kiritapu Allan and previous Government Minister Sir Michael Cullen, and is led by iwi leaders across the Eastern Bay of Plenty, the Mayors of the three local councils, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Economic Development Agency Toi EDA, the Mayor of Western Bay of Plenty District Council and more.”

“Many of these key projects have been in different stages of development for some time, however, the opportunities to co-invest with Central Government has provided an unprecedented opportunity to bring them to fruition sooner, accelerating the benefits for local communities.

Mayor Turner acknowledges that an integral aspect of this collaborative progress has been that the majority of the key projects are either undertaken in partnership with iwi/Māori landowners, and are aligned with the aspiration of Māori seeking improved social, environmental and economic outcomes.

Mayor Turner concludes by congratulating all those who have made significant contributions through working in collaboration to put forward a case for investment that has been recognised. “I am immensely heartened by this news and what it will mean for the people of our region. We continue to work with Central government on progressing economic development and investment opportunities for the Whakatāne District, and look forward to seeing the positive flow-on effects of these interconnected projects for the wider Bay of Plenty and New Zealand economie