Questions and Answers

Viability

It’s very close to Top Energy’s geothermal power-station at Ngawha. The reduced-rate electricity that Top Energy will provide is of significant interest to a number of businesses in existing, new and emerging sectors of the economy.

The proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park 90 minutes by road to New Zealand’s only natural deep-water port, Northport, and less than 30 minutes to the Bay of Islands Airport. Highly productive agricultural land lies within a radius of 60 minutes by road.

Kaikohe also lies within a part of rural Northland that would most benefit from the economic stimulus that the proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park would provide.

Far North Holdings Ltd has a very clear remit to use its assets and expertise to boost investment and employment in the Far North for the benefit of our communities and our local businesses.

The company has abundant expertise in the field of land and commercial property development and has created an alliance of interested parties to help deliver this project. This includes the Northland Te Tai Tokerau Economic Action Group and Northland Inc, with all of its inward investment expertise.

Far North Holdings acquired the land for the purpose of creating an innovation and enterprise park, and the company developed the funding application that was successful in securing the PGF money that is funding Stage One of the project.

Northland Te Tai Tokerau Economic Action Group and Northland Inc are involved as project partners.

We have already identified opportunity for businesses in the honey processing, botanical oil extraction, bio-energy, horticulture and even pre-fab housing construction sectors. Early interest from businesses in these areas has been encouraging and in some cases conversations are relatively advanced.

There really isn’t anywhere in and around Kaikohe that would give us the scale and cohesion, or allow the integration between tenants, that we envisage within an enterprise park or innovation hub such as this site is intended to be.

Also, it’s very close to Top Energy’s geothermal power-station at Ngawha. The reduced-rate electricity that Top Energy will provide is of significant interest to a number of businesses in existing, new and emerging sectors of the economy.

Top Energy has an exemption from the Electricity Authority which means that it is not required to run as two separate businesses.

Top Energy’s network business has said that it would be able to offer potential investors cheaper electricity in the form of reduced lines charges. The Top Energy generation business has also offered wholesale power agreements which offer a significant discounted to retail power prices.

Our focus is on Innovation and Enterprise. The proposed Park is not intended at this stage to be a place for heavy industry.

We want as much of a ‘closed loop’ design as possible. This will be achieved partly through the development becoming home to enterprises that could use the waste and unwanted by-products of other businesses on the site.

It is being designed to be as self-reliant as possible, to avoid placing additional demand on already-stretched community services such as potable water, raw water, waste water treatment and waste management services.

We are committed to delivering a result that is good for Kaikohe, good for Te Tai Tokerau, and good for our people. We are in the business of adding value to our communities and we are determined that the end result will exceed everyone’s expectations – in a good way!

We are looking for cornerstone/anchor tenants whose activities will complement and support rather than compete with already-established local businesses – activity that will extend potential in the region and add value to existing businesses by helping them extract greater value from their operations.

It is possible that some tenants will have equivalent activities outside of the park, so there is potential for competition. However, we are seeing that there is room for growth in some industries that will enable leverage for that industry as a whole - so all engaged in that industry can benefit.  For example - a 'Northland' or 'Te Tai Tokerau' brand; easier participation by smaller operators who can become part of a larger co-operative approach; better access to shared services within the hub.

And, of course, similar businesses not located within the park will still be able to access skills, services and technology established in the park to support or help their businesses grow.

Structure

We intend to apply for a change to the rural zoning of this land to make it more practical to establish the proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park here.

We are progressing both approaches in parallel so that we can start generating as much early momentum as possible.

We aspire towards as much of a ‘closed loop’ design as possible which would see proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park being home to businesses that can use the waste and unwanted by-products of other businesses on the site.

The proposed innovation and enterprise park is being designed to be as self-reliant as possible, to avoid placing additional demand on already-stretched community services such as potable water, raw water, waste water treatment and waste management services.

The entire concept of the proposed park respects and enhances as far as humanly possible the environmental, ecological and cultural aspects of the area. To this end we have committed to working closely with tangata whenua throughout the project lifecycle, but particularly now in the early planning stages.

By doing this we will understand what is acceptable, what is not, and how we should balance the social and economic needs of whanau, hapu and Kaikohe generally with the environmental demands we are all so conscious of.

In most cases we envisage a typical commercial build-and-lease model. If specialist facilities are required by a tenant we may need to explore other options.

FNHL using its commercial acumen will provide assistance in identifying associate activities that create a more mutually beneficial commercial environment or add value to each other.

Wherever possible FNHL will seek to identify solutions to any obstacles to development.

FNHL will look to secure third party funding, if needed, to support the establishment of new enterprises.

FNHL as a commercial entity can construct and leaseback the buildings or plant required, where it has the capacity to do so.

Nothing will be built on site without the appropriate levels of commitment from anchor or cornerstone tenants. We believe there will always be a market for the agricultural land which can be sold to recoup the original outlay by Council.

The PGF funding for Stage One will enable us to determine, once and for all, whether our hopes and aspirations for this project are viable. That alone must be worth the $890,000 investment in Stage One.

Process

Stage Two is contingent on the findings of Stage One. It will involve making a start on the implementation.

In all likelihood, yes.

The development of the park is a long-term investment in raising the economic and social well-being of the region. As with other similar innovation parks, if the development goes ahead, it will be staged and evolve over a long period. It is too early to say how long the first stage of physical development would take as this is also dependent on the investment plans of the businesses intending to locate there.

Community

We have resolved to be open, engaging, accessible and responsive throughout. We will seek to develop tailored communication that addresses the primary interests and concerns of each stakeholder group.

We intend to be consistent in our messaging, following a ‘tell one, tell all’ approach. This website will be the ‘single source of truth’, where all core info and updates will be made available.

Community consultation and engagement opportunities will be publicised well in advance and flagged clearly on our website.

We have committed to working closely with tangata whenua and community groups throughout the project lifecycle, but particularly now in the early planning stages, to ensure that all designs and activities respect and enhance as far as humanly possible the environmental, ecological and cultural aspects of the area.

By doing this we will understand what is acceptable, what is not, and how we should balance the social and economic needs of whanau, hapu and Kaikohe generally with the environmental demands we are all so conscious of.

The working group is already working with local hapū Ngati Rangi on one potential opportunity. It has started discussions with Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi O Ngāpuhi and hopes for the rūnanga’s ongoing involvement.

Te Rūnanga-Ā-Iwi O Ngāpuhi Chairman Raniera Tau says the proposed project enables a greater opportunity for industry collaboration, which brings collective commercial, economic and social benefits for all.

Ngapuhi have said they expect a high standard of design with consideration for buffer areas as well as restricting certain types of industrial activities.  Mr Tau says there is no reason why the proposed park cannot be a functional and attractive employment area that maintains an appropriate relationship with surrounding land owners.

This is still to be determined. Much depends on the nature of our anchor / cornerstone tenants.

There is a shortage of good quality, affordable social housing in the Mid North. We are investigating opportunities whereby we can help rectify this while also providing on-site accommodation for people who are working and training at the proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park.

The scale and scope of the necessary infrastructure is still being mapped out.

We aspire towards as much of a ‘closed loop’ design as possible which would see much of the environmental impact of activity inside the park dealt with there. We envisage the proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park being home to businesses that can use the waste and unwanted by-products of other businesses.

The proposed innovation and enterprise park is being designed to be as self-reliant as possible, to avoid placing additional demand on already-stretched community services such as potable water, raw water, waste water treatment and waste management services.

We do not expect Far North ratepayers to pay for or subsidise any additional infrastructure generated by the proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park.

If the project proceeds, Far North Holdings will develop the infrastructure and first buildings at the Park on behalf of the region. This ensures open access and de-risks the investment from a Crown and local government perspective.

Any additional infrastructure thereafter will be funded on a commercial basis through long-term tenancy agreements.

This is really a question for Top Energy.

From our perspective, the potential for cheaper electricity is one of the major draw-cards for businesses looking to invest at the Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park. This investment has the potential to create jobs and develop valuable and transferable skills locally, creating not only economic value but social value as well. We believe the trade-off against a marginally greater annual electricity discount is worthwhile.

We aspire towards as much of a ‘closed loop’ design as possible which would see much of the environmental impact of activity inside the park dealt with there. We envisage the proposed Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park being home to businesses that can use the waste and unwanted by-products of other businesses.

Human waste, effluent, grey water and storm water will all be processed and dealt with on site.

The proposed innovation and enterprise park is being designed to be as self-reliant as possible, to avoid placing additional demand on already-stretched community services such as potable water, raw water, waste water treatment and waste management services.