Regional leaders welcome government investment in Southland’s Just Transition

Regional leaders have welcomed recent Government support for Southland’s transition to a low-emission, high-wage economy.

Southland Just Transition Enduring Oversight Group (EOG) co-chair Aimee Kaio said they welcomed the Government’s ongoing commitment to Southland Just Transition. 

“The recent project funding announcement is an exciting milestone in this process,” she said. 

Budget 23 included $100 million to support early adoption of green hydrogen in Southland, building skills, industry knowledge and supply chains.

Southland Just Transition Enduring Oversight Group (EOG) co-chair Neil McAra said it was a great start towards delivering on the region’s Just Transition’s goal of building Southland’s economic, social and environmental resilience. 

“We appreciate the support Government has given the Southland region and look forward to hearing more on the support for Southland Just Transition from the Minister of Energy and Resources Dr Megan Woods when the Minister visits Invercargill next week,” he said.

The funding comes amid ongoing uncertainty over the future of the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter (NZAS).

The EOG co-chairs were optimistic a long-term solution could be found. 

“While we remain hopeful NZAS can negotiate an electricity supply contract beyond 2024, any agreement must clearly signal the smelter’s long-term commitment to the Southland community,” Ms Kaio said.

The overarching goals of Southland Just Transition have been to strengthen business resilience and help to understand regional advantages in primary industries, skills and training workstreams, as well as to build the community’s resilience and long-term strategic focus.