Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters today announced $5.5 million in funding from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) for two Kawerau projects and says this is a significant boost for the people of Kawerau.

“These projects will bring much-needed investment and will create up to 60 jobs for locals,” Mr Peters said at an announcement at the Waiū Dairy factory in Kawerau today.

The projects to receive funding are;

·         Waiū Dairy Limited Partnership is receiving a $4.9 million commercial loan to expand its existing dairy plant in Kawerau.

·         Plateau Compost will receive a $588,000 commercial loan to help expand their vermiculture farm operation.

“The Waiū Dairy PGF investment will help the purchase and installation of capital equipment, including a butter processor, packaging machine and cool store, enabling the plant to turn cream and bulk butter into higher value products for domestic and export markets,” Mr Peters said.

“Waiū Dairy which is two thirds owned by 11 Māori enterprises and one third by Japanese firm Imanaka, is strongly committed to establishing a sustainable Kawerau-based, Maori owned company sourcing its milk from Māori and creating value for Māori.

“This investment will enable Waiū Dairy to establish a true Maori brand in global markets, and provide tangible benefits to local, Māori owned dairy farms.

“The Plateau Compost PGF funding will be spent on capital requirements needed to expand Plateau Compost’s existing vermiculture operation, otherwise known as worm farming. 

This is the use of worms to turn waste into rich compost, which has many environmental benefits, and is highly valued by orchards and other horticulture industries.

The expansion will include breaking in 12 hectares of Maori land and removing noxious weeds such as gorse.

“The funding will provide jobs, allow productive use of Māori land and generate an income to the Maori owners of the land through lease payments,” Mr Peters said.

“These projects announced today are fine examples of what the Provincial Growth Fund was designed to do, and I am delighted to be in Kawerau today to celebrate these great projects.”