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BOP has huge potential for growth: Study
The Bay of Plenty has significant untapped economic potential and key ingredients for growth according to the government-led Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study (RGS), which was launched by Ministers Steven Joyce, Nathan Guy and Te Ururoa Flavell in Tauranga today.
The RGS was commissioned by the Ministries of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Primary Industries (MPI) in partnership with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to identify a range of short to mid-term opportunities that could assist in increasing investment, employment, and incomes across the region.
The study found the region has a solid base to build on, including its central location and infrastructure, sustainable natural resources, access to productive land, significant untapped Maori asset base and an “enviable range of economic and industry strategies and projects” already in place, developed through the likes of the Bay of Plenty’s collaborative economic development framework, the Bay of Connections.
Despite these favourable factors, the economy has lagged behind other regions over recent years and there are significant economic disparities across the sub-regions.
Bay of Connections chair Doug Leeder says the region has the tools and opportunities it needs for growth, with the RGS cataloguing the region’s strengths and opportunities, and demonstrating how that growth can be achieved.
“The launch of the Bay of Plenty Regional Growth study marks a significant development for our wider region. We are off to a good start – as outlined in the study, we already have a strong and proven platform of collaboration across industry, Maori and economic development agencies through the Bay of Connections framework.
“We need to add to this momentum and investment by identifying and focus on the key priorities. There is no silver bullet that will transform the Bay of Plenty and its economy, but we have a great deal of untapped potential, expertise, talent and significant geographic and competitive advantages to hold our own in New Zealand and the world.”
The study identified six key growth opportunity areas for the region, which include:
- Forestry – recognising Maori-owned land assets, developing export markets
- Horticulture – kiwifruit, avocado and apiculture (honey)
- Agriculture – improve farm productivity and related processing
- Aquaculture – Opotiki Harbour development and mussel farm, and fresh water farming opportunities such as trout
- Visitor economy – tourism, health and wellness and events
- Specialised manufacturing – R&D around titanium powders and alloy products
To support these direct opportunities, enabling opportunities were identified, which include improving water management, use of geothermal energy, transport infrastructure, digital technology uptake, education and skills, public agency support for the business sector and increasing the productivity of Maori land.
The next step involves working with key players across the region to develop an action plan that will define the steps needed to grow the region.
“The Regional Growth Study and the government’s investment in it – and interest in us – provides us with our single biggest opportunity to create the growth we all seek and need for a prosperous and sustainable future,” Mr Leeder says.
“The opportunities posed by the study are ours to grasp and it is absolutely critical that we work together to achieve them.”
For a copy of the Bay of Plenty study, the report is available here.
The RGS covers the Bay of Connections region of Rotorua, Whakatane, Kawerau, Opotiki, Tauranga, Western Bay and Taupo, and was written by independent consultants MartinJenkins with significant input from regional stakeholders.
The Bay of Plenty RGS is one of three such studies to be commissioned by the government, alongside Northland and Manawatu-Wanganui. The Bay of Plenty RGS is the second study to be launched, after the Northland Regional Growth Study in February 2015.
The regional action plan will be developed by industry, iwi, and local and central government stakeholders across the region. It is expected to be completed by September.
The Bay of Connections is the regional growth strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty with a vision of creating a prosperous region supported by sustainable sectors; it is simple and aspirational, with the aim of establishing and implementing sector-based strategies that generate job growth.
It encourages the region to use its combined strength and work together as one to create influence and leverage on a national scale, while at the same time ensuring no one area loses its distinctiveness.
The government is committed to working with the region through the Bay of Connections, and is also committed to raising Maori economic development performance, which makes up a significant part of the Bay of Plenty’s economic potential.
Phone: 021 577 871
Tuesday, May 12, 2015