Government offers Māori landowners $100m from Provincial Growth Fund

They say the inability to access finance has been holding development back.
They say the inability to access finance has been holding development back. Photo credit: Getty

Māori landowners will get $100 million from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), in a major boost announced on Sunday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says a lack of access to finance has been holding Māori land development back.

"Access to capital remains a challenge for Māori landowners as the special status of their land means commercial banks are less willing to lend to them," she said in a statement.

"I'm pleased that through the PGF, we're in a unique position to be able to support these landowners.

"Funding will enable Māori to access the capital required to progress projects which are investment-ready, and will ultimately support moves towards higher-value land use."

Ms Ardern pointed to research that shows 80 percent of Māori freehold land is under-utilised and unproductive.

Bringing this land into primary sector production and increasing its productivity would help unlock the economic potential of whenua Māori, she said.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says lifting the productivity of Māori land will have enormous benefits for regional economies.

"To date, the biggest barrier to land development has been access to financial capital," he said in a statement.

"This investment from the PGF helps overcome that barrier and ensures there is now end-to-end support for Māori landowners - from capability building, feasibility work, and the completion of capital projects.

"For long-term, sustainable and inclusive regional economic growth we need to ensure Māori landowners are well supported to develop their assets - and I'm pleased the PGF is well placed to kick-start this work."