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Bay of Connections continues to impact region

The Bay of Connections released its Yearly Impact Report 2014 at a small event last night in Tauranga, which highlights its success in collaboration with central government, strong advocacy and support of research and development.

The Bay of Connections is the regional growth strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty, including Taupo, with a vision of creating a prosperous region supported by sustainable sectors. The Yearly Impact Report celebrates the achievements of the Bay of Connections throughout the year and looks ahead to 2015 with great expectations for the region.

Progress has been particularly evident at central government level, with stronger relationships forged with the likes of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Te Puni Kokiri (TPK), as well as the ongoing and positive relationship built with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).

One significant outcome of a partnership over the past 12 months has been the commissioning of the Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study, led by MBIE and MPI from Central Government, and led by Bay of Connections in the region.

Bay of Connections chair Doug Leeder says the Bay of Connections’ philosophies of collaboration and connectedness is the reason why central government is partnering with the region.

“The Bay of Plenty Growth Study’s choice to engage with the region through the Bay of Connections is due to the collaborative approach taken to regional economic development. It is an important project for the region, focusing on actions and opportunities for investment and job growth.

“Our approach aligns with central government’s desire to work with regions collaboratively and has enabled the Bay of Connections to work with agencies such as MPI and MBIE throughout the year.”

The Bay of Connections was also chosen by MBIE and Hon Stephen Joyce as a partner to launch the 2014 Regional Economic Activity Report in June.

Advocacy and industry support is another core role of the Bay of Connections, with a number of successful projects and funding bids supported over the past 12 months. This includes supporting crown research institute Scion’s successful research funding bid where it will receive $3.74 million from MBIE’s Energy and Minerals Fund over the next four years. The Bay of Connections will also contribute $15k each year for the next four years to the research, which will focus on how to best use wood waste and geothermal energy resources in the Central North Island to benefit industry.

The Bay of Connections also supported the development of the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Intentions Strategy, established to define a collective vision and actions for tertiary education delivery that is closely aligned with local industry and community needs.

Sector action groups provided submissions on draft regulations throughout the year, such as the Health and Safety Reform Bill, as well as facilitated inter-sector linkages and industry and government discussions around barriers to regional and national growth.

Another highlight from the year includes working with MartinJenkins on developing a measurement and evaluation pilot project, to help the region measure the success of the Bay of Connections sector strategies over time. The Freight Logistics sector strategy was used as the pilot.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod says by solidifying strong, interwoven relationships throughout the country, the Bay of Connections continues to facilitate and support regional growth.

“Having been acknowledged as a strategic partner and conduit for engagement at central government level, the Bay of Connections has provided support and advocacy to a great number of projects and sectors throughout the year.

“In order to grow a strong and vibrant community, we must encourage collaboration between business and industry, improve wellbeing, and encourage innovation and leadership. These philosophies are at the heart of what the Bay of Connections is all about. It is simple and aspirational, with the aim of effectively removing boundaries, enabling the growth of existing opportunities and attracting new potential into the region.”

To read the online version of the report, click here.

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

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