Bay councils join forces

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Bay of Plenty's local authorities are joining forces to maximise investment opportunities across the region.

Invest Bay of Plenty - Our Place in the World will take a region-wide view of economic opportunities across the Bay of Plenty. It will enable better decision making about investment in business and infrastructure, support strategic and long-term planning, and promote the whole Bay of Plenty region as a place of first choice to live, work, do business and invest in.

"Invest Bay of Plenty will give a real boost to our work towards sustainable economic growth", said project chairman Kevin Winters.

"There are fantastic things happening in different parts of the region and in different sectors, and Invest Bay of Plenty will build on this work and the gains being made.

"This is about the Bay of Plenty's seven districts working even more closely together and strengthening our partnerships with iwi, business, and communities," he said.

"Invest Bay of Plenty will involve integrated planning right across the region, and with neighbouring local authorities as well.

"It will also give the Bay of Plenty a much stronger voice at central government level, where we advocate for the interests of our region and our communities," Mr Winters said.

"This project is about building on our combined strengths, while making sure we lose none of our distinctiveness."

Mr Winters said the initial information gathering phase was well underway, and engagement with partners and stakeholder agencies will occur over the next few months.
Opotiki Mayor John Forbes said there were big gains to be made from the existing partnerships amongst iwi, local government, and central agencies.

"We are here to serve our communities, and we work in partnership with communities and iwi on the issues that matter to them," he said.

"This project will give an excellent framework for us to achieve even more from our partnerships."

Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne said the stronger collaboration would put the Bay of Plenty in a stronger position with other regions and with central government.

"This will strengthen our contribution to the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance, encompassing Northland, Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty; and will give our region a stronger position at central government level," he said.

Kawerau Mayor Malcolm Campbell said great things could be achieved with the combined strengths of the different districts within the region.

"Particularly for the smaller councils, building on each other's strengths is essential. Together, the seven districts can achieve much more than each one working alone."

Bay of Plenty Regional Council chairman John Cronin said the economic opportunities were huge.

"Strong leadership to support economic development is crucial to the Bay of Plenty's future. Invest Bay of Plenty will give us the framework for maximising opportunities in our region and with other regions such as Waikato and Auckland."

Western Bay of Plenty District Mayor Ross Paterson said Invest Bay of Plenty would enable better prioritisation for funding and other resources.

"Regional, big-picture planning will let us channel resources into the most productive sectors, and make considered decisions about trade-offs," he said.

Tauranga City Mayor Stuart Crosby said central government was fully behind efforts for stronger regional collaboration.

"Government fully supports the direction we're headed in the interests of greater efficiencies and sustainable economic development," he said.

Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper welcomed Taupo's involvement in Invest Bay of Plenty and sees this building on existing economic development work.

"Taupo is excited to be involved, there are plenty of ways in which Taupo can play an integral role with both the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions from its position within the centre of the North Island."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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