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Bay of Connections sets new jobs target for 2025

The Bay of Connections regional economic development strategy has moved into a new phase of activity in 2013, with clear progress and impacts coming from the various sector strategies, and a defined target for employment growth being set for 2025.

The Bay of Connections is the industry-led growth strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty, including the cities and districts of Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo and Western Bay of Plenty.

The strategy has just released its second annual report – an impact document highlighting key activities and progress in the current calendar year and outlining the areas of focus for 2014.

Highlights from 2013 include the update and release of the Aquaculture strategy and the development and launch of a Rugby Sevens strategy. Progress has also continued at pace on the other sector strategies, particularly Freight Logistics.

A key activity has been the development of a regional Maori Economic Development strategy – the first regional strategy of its kind in New Zealand. The strategy is in the final stages of development ahead of its release which is expected early in 2014.

Bay of Connections Governance Group Chairman, John Cronin, says in 2013, the Bay of Connections has worked with more people and organisations than ever before, with representation from businesses, agencies and regions both within and beyond the traditional Bay of Plenty geographical boundaries.

“The core principle of our growth strategy is that of ‘connections’. Our focus is on connecting people, businesses, iwi, agencies, individuals and organisations to identify and facilitate opportunities that create growth and expansion for new and existing industries in our region.

“We have seen that in the collaboration that is taking place within the sector groups, as well as across industries and regions. It is clearly evident in the Forestry and Energy sectors, where there is strong future potential in converting wood residues into new energy and biofuels.”

Mr Cronin says the ultimate objective of the Bay of Connections strategy is to create new, quality jobs across the region.

“In the past ten years we have seen a high level of employment growth, however, the average household income remains relatively low, and there are clear and significant sub-regional differences between the east and west of the region.

“In November, a Sector Strategy Employment Scenario was completed that provides a clearer understanding of how the Bay of Connections and its sector strategies can contribute to employment growth in the region.

“The scenario provides ‘business as usual’ and aspirational estimates of new jobs, allowing us to set a target of an extra 5,000 jobs in the key Bay of Connections sectors.

“The report indicates that, as a result of Bay of Connections activities, there is particularly strong potential to create significant new jobs in the Aquaculture and Forestry and Wood Products sectors. These would make a major economic difference in some of our smaller communities, such as Opotiki and Kawerau, and lead to wider benefit across the whole region.”

Mr Cronin says the employment scenario report provides an aspirational benchmark for the region and will help ensure sector strategy actions are aligned to tangible outputs and employment outcomes.

“In the past six years we have laid a vital foundation of trust and understanding across our region and amongst our various partners – including councils, industries and economic development agencies. I believe that the next few years will see the investment in this foundation come to fruition.”

The Bay of Connections Annual Report and Sector Strategy Employment Scenario report is available at

Media Background

The Bay of Connections is driven by a governance group representing Eastern Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo, and Western Bay of Plenty, in partnership with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the region’s economic development agencies.

The Bay of Connections was established in 2007 and revised in 2011. It has a strong sector focus and identifies 13 key sectors where the wider Bay of Plenty region has a point of difference and potential competitive advantage.

Sector strategies have been developed for Aquaculture, Forestry and Wood Processing, Energy, Freight Logistics, and Rugby Sevens. Work is in progress on a Biking strategy and a regional Maori Economic Development Strategy.

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Friday, January 17, 2014

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