How the Provincial Growth Fund has transformed Gisborne’s economy
BERL was commissioned by Te Kaunihera o Te Tairāwhiti/Gisborne District Council (GDC) to conduct an evaluation of the impact of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) on the Gisborne region.
Traditionally, the region has had relatively high unemployment, slow population growth, and limited opportunities for youth. The introduction of the PGF provided a strong, much needed boost to employment and GDP in some of the traditional sectors, such as forestry and farming. Equally important, the funding also encouraged the establishment, and growth, of organisations in non-traditional industries for example, medical research and engineering technologies.
BERL undertook a survey of PGF grant or loan recipients, covering 91 (or 67 percent) or all the PGF supported projects in the district up to mid-2021. The survey results confirmed that every supported project was additional to some extent. This means that the project would not have happened, or not have happened at this time, without the PGF grants or loans. Our modelling showed that the funding will generate an additional 1,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs, and expand the region’s economy by $176 million (equalling 7.6 percent of Gisborne’s GDP) as of March 2020.
The funding has made a transformative contribution to the region, particularly for Māori
The fund was designed to support projects that prioritised the skills and capability development of groups who have traditionally been underserved, particularly Māori, to ultimately increase social and economic participation, enable equal outcomes, and build resilience. The projects supported by the funding will have enduring effects, particularly through the increased capability of, and training provided to, individuals and groups. The funding also promoted innovation activities, production capacity, and the ability to compete domestically and internationally for local business.
Case studies highlight the wider social benefits of the funding
In most cases, these programmes were significant interventions in the lives of youth (and adults) who had no prior formal work training, and often faced serious disruptive challenges in their personal lives. What made these initiatives even more impactful was the emphasis on spiritual and mental support, coupled with skills development. Most of the organisations providing these programmes noted that without the support from the PGF they would not have had the resources or capability to provide training and targeted care.
The final report can be accessed here.