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Update for Bay of Connections strategy

Friday, 5 August 2011 9:21 a.m.

The Bay of Plenty's economic development strategy Bay of Connections is being reviewed to ensure it remains current in a changing economic climate.

This week's Bay of Plenty Regional Council Strategy, Planning and Policy Committee meeting heard that the strategy's 13 key sectors needed to be further developed and strengthened if the region was to prosper.

Acting Chief Executive Miles McConway said some economic sectors were established, while others like niche manufacturing, especially titanium, and aquaculture were emerging. Work was currently underway with energy, forestry, transport and logistics, aquaculture, marine, and information and communications technology.

"As with any piece of work, it will need to continue to evolve to meet the changing environment.  Our world has changed significantly in the past few years, so it's vital that our regional economic strategy changes and evolves with it," he said.

The updating has begun and will be completed by November. The review will consider current sectors, with changes made where needed.

"It will also have a greater degree of economic analysis. It will have measurable targets, based around FTEs (full time equivalents) and GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Having more quantitative analysis will help target future funding and resource allocation to those sectors where there is a high degree of confidence in significant and positive results as a result of that investment."

The Bay of Connections Governance Group intends to update the strategy every three years, to ensure it remained relevant to the regional and national economies. The first stage updates the economic and industry profile of the Bay of Plenty. The updated version will retain a sector-based approach, and will continue to be aligned with nationally competitive sectors.

 "The key measure of the strategy's success will be an increase in employment over and above what would be expected without intervention. A secondary set of measures will be around GDP, which will reflect increases in productivity or increased value add.  These measures will enable the on-going impact of Bay of Connections to be monitored," Mr McConway said.

Stage two, begun this month, involved developing the strategy and action plan documents, ready for completion and launch in November or December this year.

The update will cost about $130,000, shared by NZ Trade and Enterprise paying about 70 percent, and Priority One, Toi-EDA, Destination Rotorua Economic Development and the Regional Council sharing the rest of the costs.

A regional forum is scheduled for early next month. 

"This is a chance for the Bay of Connections Governance Group to share the draft strategy and action plan with interested partners from industry, central and local government, and science and education providers.

Ends

For further media information please contact Miles McConway, on 0800 884 880 or Linda Thompson, Senior Communications Advisor, on direct dial 0800 884 881 ext 8149 or (021) 923 339.

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