Newsletter February 2015

Last year was a significant year for the Bay of Connections. After seven years of development and evolution, building even stronger relationships with key stakeholders and continuing to promote the collaborative model, it reached a tipping point.

This of course culminated in the Bay of Connections being selected as the regional lead for the Government’s Regional Growth Strategy run by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Looking to the year ahead, the Bay of Connections’ focus will be on continuing its current momentum across the portfolio as well as leading the implementation of the key priorities of the Regional Growth Study, with the underlying goals of more investment and jobs for the wider Bay of Plenty region.

Regional Growth Study update

Over the past eight months, MBIE and MPI have been working with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Bay of Connections, the Technical Advisory Group, key regional stakeholders and consultants MartinJenkins to develop the Regional Growth Study. A long list of potential opportunities was identified through comprehensive stakeholder engagement. The draft report is currently with ministers (Joyce, Flavell and Guy), and the final report will be launched in mid-late April 2015.

The study identifies the commercial opportunities in the region which have the most potential to sustainably grow incomes and jobs, along with any barriers and actions required to address those opportunities.

Once the study is launched, MBIE and MPI will continue to work closely with regional stakeholders such as the Bay of Connections to identify actions that will support the opportunities identified, and there will be a negotiation stage to determine who will do what. A regional leaders and mayoral forum is also planned for some time after the launch. Leveraging the region’s opportunities will require collaboration between local and central government, businesses and iwi, with the Bay of Connections framework already well-placed to lead implementation.

We will continue to provide updates on progress on the development and implications of the growth study, through media releases, the Bay of Connections website (www.bayofconnections.com) and this newsletter.

Energy Strategy update

At this stage all Bay of Connections strategies are reviewed and updated after a three year period to ensure they are up-to-date and relevant.

We are currently finalising the Energy Strategy, following extensive work last year by the core working group. There are two distinct components to the revised strategy – Wealth and Wellbeing.

Sustainable energy adviser Nik Gregg has been appointed to drive the Wellbeing side of the strategy, while tenders are now open for the Wealth side of the strategy.

If you would like more information, contact Bay of Connections Portfolio Manager Cheryl Lewis.