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Regional Economic Development

The Bay of Connections sets out the goals and priorities for sustainable economic growth in the Bay of Plenty region.

The Bay of Connections website has more information about the Bay of Plenty's economic development strategy.

Action Plan

As a regional council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council has always made a significant contribution to the economic development of the Bay of Plenty through environmental and infrastructure management.  The Local Government Act 2002 (LGA 2002) enabled us to re-assess our role in promoting the regional community outcomes.  As a regional authority, the LGA 2002 gives us the opportunity to research and analyse economic issues from a regional perspective as we can look at Bay of Plenty-wide issues where no other organisation is mandated to do so.

Since our first Ten Year Plan in 2004, we have had many public submissions supporting our involvement in regional economic development.  Council has been involved in funding, preparing and implementing the eastern Bay of Plenty partnership, western Bay of Plenty's SmartEconomy strategy and Rotorua's Bright Economy strategy.

Central Government has changed the way it supports local economic development initiatives from July 2006.  Its aim it to have more internationally competitive businesses within the regions.  In order to achieve this goal Government wants regions like the Bay of Plenty, that have three separate strategies within the region, to work together instead of individually.  The changes are designed to encourage the region to exploit the critical mass available from region-wide collaboration to undertake larger projects that will result in greater impacts on the region's economy, and also be nationally significant.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council  led the COBoP (Community Outcomes Bay of Plenty) partnership to analyse the region's economic status and determine the benefit to the region of having a region-wide economic strategy.  Business Economic Research Ltd (BERL) was commissioned by Bay of Plenty Regional Council  to do a situational analysis of the Bay of Plenty in June 2007.  Key findings are that while each of the sub-regions has unique economic development issues there are significant similarities, linkages and opportunities that extend across sub-regions.  The report identifies that a wider collaborative approach is the best way to attend to these issues and exploit these opportunities.

You can download the BERL report and its appendices by clicking on the links below:

Regional Governance Group

Following the recommendations of the BERL report and acknowledging Government's new regional development programme the COBoP group resolved to establish a governing group to guide the formation of a Regional Economic Development Strategy and to submit funding applications to the Ministry of Economic Development for regional initiatives.

The purpose of the Regional Governance Group is to provide:

  • Guide the preparation, implementation and review of a Bay of Plenty Regional Development Strategy. The Strategy will provide a strategic short to long term economic development view for the region, and will also set priorities for funding projects across the region.
  • Region-wide support for key economic development challenges, such as improving productivity, raising household incomes, and sustainable business development.
  • Bigger projects with bigger impacts, such as more work on skills shortages and on improving infrastructure.
  • An improved ability to take advantage of cross-regional opportunities, such as business innovation across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty and linkages with Auckland.

Process for Establishing the Regional Governance Group

The following process was used to establish the partnership:

  • Stakeholder engagement to build awareness and support for establishment of a Bay of Plenty Regional Development Partnership through targeted discussions with Bay of Plenty business groups.
  • Targeted discussions lead by independent consultant with support from Bay of Plenty Regional Council  and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE).
  • Engaging with target groups such as Economic Development Agency (EDA) boards, Chambers of Commerce, industry clusters, community trusts, tourism organisations and iwi.
  • Carried out a nomination and selection process, including advertising, assessment by Bay of Plenty local authority Chief Executives, and sign off of appointees.
  • Early December 2007 - successful and unsuccessful nominees notified, and first meeting date set.
  • 11 December 2007 - first meeting of the Regional Governance Group.

Regional Governance Group Appointees

The Regional Governance Group is made up of seven representatives from around the region: three nominated regional business representatives; one representative from each of the three economic development agencies (EDA); and, a COBOP representative.  The Regional Governance Group appointees are:

  • John Cronin (COBOP representative) - Interim Chairman until end June-08
  • Tony Hawken (CEO - Eastpack Ltd)
  • Frank Aldridge (CEO - ABN Amro Craigs)
  • Richard Vallance (CEO - Ngati Whakaue Tribal Lands)
  • Murray Davies (Chairman - Priority One, Western Bay of Plenty)
  • Anthony Olsen (Toi-EDA representative Eastern Bay of Plenty)

Bay of Plenty Regional Council will play a key role in providing strategic advice to the Regional Governance Group, and will lead the development of the Regional Economic Development Strategy, and completing submissions for Central Government's regional funding.

The Regional Governance Group is supported by a Management Group made up of Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Group Manager Strategic Development and an officer from each of the three Economic Development Agencies.  This team implements the decisions and actions resolved by the Regional Governance Group.