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Council gives thumbs up to announcements boosting food innovation and research in the region

Friday August 12 2016

Palmerston North City Council Mayor Grant Smith says a $39 million food science facility to be built at Massey University will provide a significant boost to the regional and national economy.

Photo shows room full of people listening to a man speaking at a podium.

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce speaking at the launch today

The construction of the 5000 square metre building of up to three stories will begin in August next year and be completed by the end of 2018.

The building will be jointly owned by Massey University and AgResearch, which are among the partners in FoodHQ along with the Palmerston North City Council.

FoodHQ connects the food and beverage industries to more than 2200 scientists from nine internationally recognised research and innovation organisations in New Zealand.

Mayor Smith says he’s pleased there is ongoing support for the city and region as a world leader in food innovation.

“Building the food science facility is a tangible recognition of the region’s role in the local, national and global economy.

“The project will also contribute to the growth in commercial and residential construction in the city. That means more work for local businesses and more jobs.”

The announcement was made by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce as part of the launch of the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan in Whanganui today.

The Economic Action Plan is designed to boost the region’s economy as well as create jobs and increase income and investment.

At the launch, Mr Joyce also announced $100,000 in funding for a new business development manager to promote FoodHQ to global R&D firms.

Mayor Smith says FoodHQ’s partners including Palmerston North City Council have also agreed in principle to match the government’s contribution.

“FoodHQ is planning to increase the value of its R&D contracts by tens of millions of dollars over the next four years. We must make the most of every opportunity to bring more international investment and employment to the city,” he says.