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Last week Minister Jones spent time with all three district Mayors to hear what sort of projects could benefit from investment from the Provincial Growth Fund, which has $1 billion per year in its coffers over the next three years, to drive economic benefits in the provinces.

"As a long-time fan of Mr Jones, meaning Regional Economic Development Minister Hon Shane Jones, we were all delighted with his recent visit to the Thames-Coromandel, Hauraki and Matamata-Piako districts," says TCDC Mayor Sandra Goudie.

"The Minister is the man for this job. He understands the capabilities of all our districts and his focus on driving economic development is substantial. He is also one of the most experienced Ministers when it comes to knowledge of the aquaculture industry and also working productively and proactively with iwi."

She says discussing access and transport around the Coromandel and how this could be improved - along with expansion of aquaculture and supporting industries was top of TCDC’s agenda.

"We will certainly be putting forward applications for the Provincial Growth Fund, or supporting applications from industry around aquaculture infrastructure," says Mayor Sandra. "But we also indicated we would be making sure these applications were credible, well researched and evidence based before being submitted so we can guarantee success.”

In Hauraki District, the Minister was hosted at the Paeroa Historical Maritime Museum and Park.

“It was the perfect setting to deliver a really good overview of how investment could be used to continue to enhance economic growth in the District,” says Hauraki District Mayor John Tregidga, “Minister Jones was especially positive about the huge tourism potential for further development at the Park. Early feasibility studies show exciting possibilities for this to be connected to the Hauraki Rail Trail.”

Mayor Tregidga says HDC has worked hard to create its own future and is one of the most active councils in economic development in the rural sector.

“We’ve rolled out the red carpet not the red tape, pursued international and domestic investment, and built the hugely successful Hauraki Rail Trail. We’re also very supportive of future aquaculture development in the region and will work closely with our neighbours on progressing this further,” he says.

“With further investment from the Provincial Growth Fund, we’ll be able to continue our progress and complete some key projects in Hauraki.”

Matamata-Piako Mayor Jan Barnes says she was thrilled to host the Minister and introduce him to the district, in particular showcasing industry growth and the potential for more development in this area in the future. She says many household branded industry leaders had already made or had designated Matamata-Piako as a place of choice to establish their companies.

“Matamata-Piako are fortunate enough to house numerous well-known brands associated with food processing and other products including Inghams, Silver Fern Farms, Greenlea Meats, Fonterra and Open Country Cheese and Tatua Dairy Factory, all allocated within a small geographical footprint.”

She said creating infrastructure to support these industry leaders such as developing on transport, waste water and making land available were all important markers to continue to grow industry in the area and that’s where the Provincial Growth Fund would be an asset for Matamata-Piako.

Minister Shane Jones Maritime Park

Minister Shane Jones at Paeroa Historical Maritime Museum and Park on his visit to Hauraki District Council