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Kopu Marine and Business Precinct was opened on Friday, 21 June with style and a good crowd  and the active presence of some of our national, regional and local leaders. The project began seven years ago with a feasability study thanks to some co-investment from TCDC and Waikato Regional Council. It cost $15.3m – the project kept to budget.
 |  Pauline Stewart  | 

The Right Honourable Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister; the Honourable Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Development, Oceans and Fisheries, and Minister for Resources; Mayor of Thames Coromandel District, Len Salt; and Casey Costello, Minister of Customs, Minister for Seniors and Associate Minister of Health, participating together in the official opening ceremony of the Kopu Marine and Business Precinct. Winston cut the ribbon.

Unity on growth for the economy

It truly is an exciting development and one could feel that all the speakers with their words, were believers.

The project has been managed by Urban Solutions with contractors Fulton Hogan, Land + Sea Civil, and Heron Group. Local sub-contractors have been extensively involved.

It has had the backing of local iwi, Ngāti Maru who have acted as kaitiaki of the building process, ensuring the natural environment was protected. Ngāti Maru Runanga has provided artistic designs stencilled into the ramps, as well as two pou (pillars)about to be unveiled at a separate dawn ceremony.

It was largely funded by a Crown Infrastructure Fund grant of $8.2m, $1.5m from TCDC district funding, $565,000 from Waikato Regional Council as well as finance from Thames Business Association and local businesses.

The importance of this vision to the Thames and Coromandel Peninsula Economy was stressed by Mayor Len in his address.

Despite the different political views, there was unity around the need for the precinct to advance the economy of the region. Even the  protestors standing by the roadside about 200 metres from the Opening Ceremony spoke  to The Informer of their support for the Kopu business park. The placards shouted their objections to mining and proposed fast track actions attributed to Shane Jones and Winston Peters who were present and speaking at this auspicious event.

However, at the event itself, there was strong support for both Winston Peters and Shane Jones. The two brought confidence  that it was possible to regrow and expand the economy on the Coromandel. Shane Jones also brought a warning that, “With the passing of the budget, it became very, very clear that we face dire economic circumstances unless we grow our economy.”

Winston enthused about the Provincial Growth Fund and the opportunity it gives to provinces.  He called for those who would call it a ‘slush fund’ to be silent.

Pamela Storey affirmed that now Kopu could grow to meet future demands along with aligning with local iwi aspirations for their economic and social drivers.

Differences for sure, but a unified spirit around improving the economy for everyone and keeping this beautiful land safe were within every heart including our national leaders.

The group of official guests, above – some of whom worked over seven years to make the project possible; Minister Shane Jones (below), talking with the protestors at Kopu; Murray McLean, previous MP, Sandra Goudie, previous Mayor, and Winston Peters, deputy Prime Minister.