Minister encourages funding application

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Gore needs to submit its plans in order to get a slice of the Government’s regional development fund before September.

Minister of Regional Economic Development Shane Jones was in Gore earlier this week urging the area’s leaders to work on their funding applications.

Last month, the Government announced a three-year, $3 billion regional growth fund to boost the provinces.

The Northland-based politician listened to a presentation of Gore District Council economic and cultural development plans.

Those plans included attracting 1500 new residents to the district by 2030 and proposals for an upgrade of the arts and heritage precinct.

Mr Jones advised the council to work in collaboration with the whole region.

“It would be great to have a real sense of cohesion,” Mr Jones said.

He was complimentary about the district’s plans which covered economic, social and cultural aspects.

In other parts of New Zealand he had encouraged the development of a theme when making a submission for funding.

He was aware the Government had 30 months to turn the big spending plans into reality.

To get the funding applications over the line they would need political advocacy, Mr Jones said.

He said encouraging the development of plans and funding applications from the regions was a priority for him.

Gore district arts and heritage curator Jim Geddes’ presentation struck a note with Mr Jones.

He was impressed with the historic themes Mr Geddes brought through his presentation, which included interpreting the Hokonui illicit whisky story.

He said some areas had tremendously rich histories yet they had suffered years of neglect.

There were too many lost stories, Mr Jones said.

The aim of the fund was to change that in 30 months.

“It’s exciting for us as a government,” he said.

Southland generated a lot of wealth in terms of contributing foreign earnings.

“All you need is a little fiscal love.”