Southland’s secret sauce, the region is ready to pounce

Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods issued a heartfelt commendation this morning to the resilient community of Southland and its dedicated Just Transition Enduring Oversight Group (EOG) for their exceptional leadership in securing significant budget allocations from the government.

The government’s Budget 23 announcement on Thursday included $100 million to support early adoption of green hydrogen, starting in Southland; building skills, industry knowledge and supply chains.

An additional $8 million in funding for the Southland Just Transition package was announced this morning.

Minister Woods expressed her admiration for Southland’s proactive approach to embracing change and fostering a sustainable and inclusive future, and noted the secret sauce of Southland was found in the readiness to pounce on opportunities.

“It’s truly impressive the way in which Southland has come together, and the leadership role that we’ve seen from the Murihiku Collective and from iwi.

“An opportunity has been grasped in terms of wanting to secure the long-term future for this community,” she said.

Southland Just Transition Enduring Oversight Group (EOG) co-chair Neil McAra said today was a good marker in the long-term development of the leadership of Southland’s future.

“The additional $8million announcement gives a lot of support towards continuing the two-year journey that Southland Just Transition has been on and the need to continue that leadership,” he said.

This initiative includes the establishment of a Southland Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster, designed to help local firms diversify their clientele and seize new economic opportunities, while still supporting key existing industries.

The $8million package also promised continued backing for the establishment of COIN Innovation Ecosystem.

Southland Business Chamber CEO Sheree Carey said it was a positive start.

Southland Just Transition Enduring Oversight Group (EOG) co-chair Aimee Kaio said the Just Transition workstreams have had a proactive and forward-thinking mindset.

“This combined with the collective determination of the Just Transition team, has been instrumental in securing the necessary budget support from the government, and Southland is truly leading the way nationally in their commitment to creating a resilient and prosperous future for their community,” she said.

The recent budget announcements highlight the government’s recognition of Southland’s vision and the importance of investing in regions undergoing significant transitions.

The funds will support Southland’s comprehensive Just Transition plans, and position the region as a national leader in future-proofing initiatives.

“The future of Southland is important and it’s vital we continue to work with central government to ensure there is success in Southland,” Mr McAra said.