'Refreshed' Bay of Plenty economic development plan unveiled

By Leo Horgan
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

An ambitious Bay of Plenty economic development plan has established its next areas of focus.

The Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan has already seen investment in the Opotiki sea farm and harbour development, increased Māori knowledge of direct-use geothermal power and unused land turned to kiwifruit orchards.

The refreshed plan, which has 38 news actions and 46 actions removed, was unveiled in front of more than 120 stakeholders today at the 2017 Annual Bay of Connections and Regional Growth Programme Forum.

Four Government Ministers – Simon Bridges, Paul Goldsmith, Todd McClay and Anne Tolley – also attended and addressed the forum.

Governance Group chairman Doug Leeder says Bay of Connections is continuing to lead the way when it comes to economic growth.

Mr Leeder says the refreshed plan reflects the milestones which have been achieved since its launch almost two years ago, as well as new and evolving actions that will be pursued.

“It is important for the Action Plan to remain a living document that adapts to the ever-changing economic environment," says Leeder.

“Economic growth development is a long-term game but through the combined efforts of all those involved regionally, at local and central government, from business and iwi, we are already seeing success stories.

“The development of the Kawerau Container Terminal from research to tendering stage, the establishment of the Tertiary Intentions Leadership Group to enhance education provision and partnership, and the Omaio kiwifruit expansion, which aims to create 100 new jobs, are all examples of what can be achieved through the Action Plan and working together.”

Bay of Connections portfolio manager Cheryl Lewis says the Action Plan’s refresh has seen 46 actions removed, with 38 new actions added.

“The refresh is important to reflect on what has been completed and ensure it stays relevant to the current economic environment.”

She says key new actions include developments in horticulture, education and skills, Māori land utilisation, forestry and the visitor economy.

A full review of the action Plan and the Bay of Plenty Growth Strategy will take place by the end of 2018.

To see a copy of the refreshed Action Plan, visit http://www.bayofconnections.com/downloads/RGS-Action-Plan-Summary-WEB.pdf

Background:

The Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study (RGS) was launched in May 2015, in partnership between the Bay of Connections at a regional level and the Ministries of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Primary Industries (MPI) at a central government level.

In October 2015, an Action Plan was launched to map out how the key opportunities identified in the RGS could be realised.  The Action Plan includes nine key priority sectors; agribusiness, aquaculture, education and skills, forestry and wood products, geothermal, horticulture, Maori land utilisation, visitor economy and water.

This has undergone a refresh, the details of which were outlined at the forum.

For further information about the RGP, please visit www.bayofconnections.com/growth-programme/