Regional economic development: Budget 2022 cheat sheet

For regional economic development, direct initiatives in Budget 2022 were relatively slim on the ground. The government’s focus is on investing in transformations across industries and the institutions to deliver services, rather than specific place-based economic development projects.

That being said there were a few points of note for those in economic development agencies of relevant initiatives in Budget 2022 that might have more direct implications for their work. These include:

  • Confirmation of Kānoa’s $200 million of funding for its Regional Strategic Partnership Fund. Last year’s budget had reprioritised money to start the fund, while Budget 2022 closes the balance with an additional $110 million of funding.
  • The setting aside of $100 million of capital funding to contribute to a Business Growth Fund being developed alongside New Zealand’s major banks. The Business Growth Fund would enable SME owners to retain majority control of their businesses, while allowing them to grow, create new jobs and increase their contributions to our wider economic and regional development. The scheme is modelled on similar schemes in the UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia and intended to fill a gap in the capital market for SMEs that require growth capital not available through current market providers.
  • Improving broadband infrastructure in the worst-served regions will receive $60 million. This will help affected regions gain access to stronger connections, which may unlock the ability to achieve productivity gains through technologies and coordination that relies on better digital connectivity.
  • A $54.2 million Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery has been established. This programme will support businesses to rebuild on a sustainable basis, working towards a future tourism sector that has greater security by being more productive, low-emissions, and creates high-skill, high-wage employment opportunities. Although not stated, this tourism programme is in effect a potential source of funding for implementation of some actions and activities in destination management plans.
  • The Budget makes commitments to fund Industry Transformation Plans (ITPs) across a range of sectors. The funding includes $37 million of funding for the Construction Sector Accord Transformation Plan, $30 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Industry Transformation Plan, $5 million for the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan, $20 million for the Digital Technologies Industry Transformation Plan, and $40 million for the Primary Industry Transformation Plans. Within the Primary Industry Transformation Plans are the Food and Beverage ITP ($8 million), the Fisheries ITP ($5 million), and the Forestry and Wood Processing ITP ($27 million).
  • $118.4 million for advisory services to support farmers, foresters, growers and whenua Māori owners to accelerate sustainable land use changes and lift productivity.