Strategy aims to create 5000 jobs in Bay

By Victoria White -
22 comments
BOOST: The launch of Matariki - Hawkes Bay regional economic development strategy in Napier this morning. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND.
BOOST: The launch of Matariki - Hawkes Bay regional economic development strategy in Napier this morning. PHOTO/WARREN BUCKLAND.

The creation of 5000 jobs in Hawke's Bay over five years is a goal of an economic development strategy unveiled this morning.

At a launch held at Napiers MTG, regional leaders joined ministers Steven Joyce, Te Ururoa Flavell, Nathan Guy and Craig Foss in launching Matariki - Hawke's Bay regional economic development strategy.

Key initiatives of the strategy - a collaborative approach from government agencies, local authorities, and iwi - would diversify and grow the region's economy, by increasing jobs, income, and turning the region into a "beacon" for investment.

Around 200 people attended the launch, where ministers spoke of the potential offered in the Bay.

This morning Maori development minister Te Ururoa Flavell and Social Development Minister Anne Tolley, who was not in attendance, announced Project 1000 - a scheme to provide 1000 new jobs for currently unemployed Hawke's Bay workers over the next three years.

It would bring together several employment-related initiatives for the region.
The project was a "key contributer" to the overall employment goal of the strategy, to add 5000 more jobs in Hawke's Bay over the five years of the plan which Economic Minister Mr Joyce said was "highly doable" - "It's a challenge, but it's doable," he said.

A $25 million package of three road access improvements to Napier port was also announced.

These inccluded improvements to intersections at Watchman Rd and Hyderabad Rd/Prebensen Drive as well as the SH50/SH2 expressway.

Design work for the proposed improvements to SH50 and at Hyderabad Rd/Prebensen Drive was expected to begin before the end of this year.

The Government would also be supporting a proposal to expand the National Aquairum of New Zealand to include Marine research and create high skilled, science-based, employment.

Mr Joyce announced the Government is committing $50,000 toward scoping the feasibility of the proposal.

"Its a very big project that would require central and local government plus the private sector to all get in behind it. However it could be a significant boost for tourism in the region and for New Zealand's overall science infrastructure."

The proposed expansion included creating the largest and deepest research display tanks in New Zealand with a submersible lift which would take visitors under water. Full scale living laboratories would enable scientists to study marine and fresh water ecosystems where environmental variables could be controlled.

Breeding facilities and recovery programmes, research laboratories and work spaces were also included.

Meanwhile Tukituki MP Craig Foss has welcome overarching plan to increase jobs, income, innovation and investment in Hawke's Bay.

"The Bay already has many world leading producers of quality value-added products and services but we still have lots of room to grow," Mr Foss said.

"Matariki - Hawke's Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan 2016 is a road map to help us do just that - grow employment levels, grow incomes, grow investment and establish ourselves as the most innovative region in New Zealand.

"Project 1000 - a scheme to provide 1000 new jobs for currently unemployed Hawke's Bay workers over the next three years - is one of the most ambitious initiatives. Increased employment obviously benefits individuals and families but it also benefits our communities and businesses.

"Our exporters will benefit from the $25 million investment in better road access to Napier port. Improving access to the port will ensure more effective and efficient movement of freight and support that all important growth.

"The Action Plan identifies Hawke's Bay as being full of promise. It capitalise on our traditional strengths as a food hub and exporter of top quality produce but also outlines opportunities to diversify and upskill.

"The proposal to expand the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier to include marine research and science-based employment is an exciting opportunity for our region.

"I look forward to seeing all 45 actions in the plan roll out and begin to benefit our region's economic performance, and most importantly, our families."

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