Plan to make Bay most innovative region in NZ

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WELCOME: A powhiri was held at the launch of the Government's Regional Economic Development Strategy in Napier this morning. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND.
WELCOME: A powhiri was held at the launch of the Government's Regional Economic Development Strategy in Napier this morning. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND.

A "comprehensive" plan to diversify and grow the Hawke's Bay economy, increasing jobs, income and investment in Hawke's Bay was launched in Napier today.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy launched Matariki - Hawke's Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2016 - which they said aimed to make Hawke's Bay the most innovative region in New Zealand, the leading exporter of premium primary produce and a hub for business growth.

The plan has been developed by local and regional authorities, iwi and business leaders with support from central government agencies.

"Economic growth in Hawke's Bay is gathering pace, and the delivery of this action plan will help accelerate that growth and give local workers better access to ongoing employment and higher household incomes," Mr Joyce said.

"The plan focuses on improving pathways to employment in areas like horticulture and construction, as well as encouraging investment and business growth, lifting innovation and productivity, attracting skilled migrants, developing infrastructure and increasing visitor spending."

Mr Guy said the plan looks to leverage Hawke's Bay's considerable natural advantages.

"The full potential of the primary sector has yet to be realised in Hawke's Bay. Actions to address this range from investigating the feasibility of an agricultural training hub to improving water storage, and helping farmers improve their land productivity while meeting new freshwater standards," Mr Guy said.

"All of the actions in the plan require working in partnership with iwi and hapū, with primary producers and with other government agencies.

"Iwi have been extensively involved in developing the strategy and action plan and have come together to form Te Kahui Ōhanga o Takitimu, which will play a key role in achieving collective economic goals for Māori."

Implementation of the 45 individual actions in the plan will be led by various stakeholders and government agencies working together.

"As part of the Government's Regional Growth Programme, the plan represents a coordinated approach to lifting the region's economic performance - leaders from across the spectrum are pulling together," Mr Joyce said.

The Hawke's Bay action plan was informed by the 2014 East Coast Regional Economic Potential Study and complements the wider work of the Government's Māori economic development strategy, He Kai Kei Aku Ringa and the Business Growth Agenda.

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