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Community leaders meet on economic future

Tuesday, 20 September 2011 2:31 p.m.

About 50 community leaders from throughout the Bay of Plenty attended a Tauranga forum last week to begin updating the Bay's economic development strategy, Bay of Connections.

It is almost three years since the strategy was launched, and Bay of Plenty Regional Council Group Manager Technology and Economic Development Miles McConway said it was essential that the strategy 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.

"Stage 1 of the update has been completed - an economic and industry profile, and survey of what has changed and what is working. The survey also provided a new regional economic development strategy framework to support the Bay of Connections in identifying actions, generating outputs and delivering outcomes to grow the region's economy.

The regional forum was an opportunity 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, he said.

The forum sessions covered where the region wanted to go, reviewing the vision, goal and examining the "megatrends" likely to affect the Bay of Plenty. Participants looked at the area's competitive advantages and opportunities, and were asked to prioritise their top seven export-focused sectors.

"Participants endorsed the current Bay of Connections strategy, felt it was on the right track, and focused on the right sectors. They supported the collaborative approach.

"The strategy has 13 key sectors that as a region we need to further develop and strengthen if we are to prosper. Some sectors are established, while others like niche manufacturing (especially titanium) and aquaculture are emerging. Work is currently underway with energy, forestry, transport and logistics, aquaculture, marine and information and communications technology."

The revised strategy will be published in late November.

Ends

For further media information please contact Group Manager Technology and Economic Development 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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