South Waikato Investment Fund Trust, South Waikato District Council, local iwi Raukawa, community and business representatives took the district to Parliament on Wednesday 31 August to advocate for long term co-investment to address multigenerational inequalities.
Then, South Waikato District Council Mayor, Jenny Shattock, recognised that while the district had achieved remarkable growth it still found itself the fifth most deprived community in New Zealand.
Both SWIFT’s and Council’s desire for better collaboration between Government agencies and local stakeholders drove the roadshow with a focus on achieving enduring change through better funding and support models.
New multi-million-dollar projects announced over the previous two years including the Ofi dairy processing facility in Tokoroa, Better Eggs’ free range forest farm, the 254 villa Putāruru Country Estate retirement village and the South Waikato Trades Training Centre in Tokoroa have created the momentum being faced within the district’s economy.
The new growth adds to South Waikato’s strong existing industries including Oji Fibre Solutions’ Kinleith wood pulp and container board mill, Fonterra’s Lichfield facility that employs 230 people and serves 322 dairy farm suppliers, and Waratah, a world leading developer and supplier of mechanised wood harvesting machinery.
However, while acknowledging the district’s economic development and growth activity, both SWIFT and Council continue to recognise the challenge for the district in ensuring benefits for all.
“It’s an exciting time for the South Waikato district. “We’re growing at a rapid rate, and we are delighted to support this new era of development for our community. “Being able to showcase the growth and vibrancy to decision makers and potential partners is critical to ensuring the momentum continues and that our community benefits from opportunities as they present themselves.” – Amanda Hema
South Waikato community groups that were also an integral part of the delegation to Wellington included Raukawa Charitable Trust, South Waikato Pacific Island Community Services, Momentum Waikato, the Generation Programme, Impact Hub Waikato, the Waikato Wellbeing Project, WORKIT, Te Waka, Trinity Lands, Trinity Koha Dental Clinic, Transform Aotearoa, Pokaiwhenua Catchment Group and Halo Charitable Trust.
In addition to the large industry partners recognised above, additional companies joining the South Waikato delegation to Parliament including the integrated logistics provider Lincoln Logistics, worm composting company MyNoke, and specialty cheese maker Over the Moon.
Organisations exhibited their products and services to Parliamentarians in the Grand Hall of Parliament House on Wednesday 31 August hosted by South Waikato’s Members of Parliament, Speaker Adrian Rurawhe, MP for Te Tai Hauāuru, and Hon Louise Upston, MP for Taupō.
Feedback from MPs and decision makers across the various government agencies was extremely positive and discussions have continued to advance key projects and partnership opportunities.