Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today launched the Bay of Plenty Regional Economic Action Plan, a set of key initiatives designed to lift employment, incomes and investment across the region.
“The Bay of Plenty region is growing well as a result of the recovery from the kiwifruit PSA crisis and the rapidly growing tourism industry. This Bay of Plenty Action Plan will ensure growth is maintained and extended to all parts of the region, especially the eastern Bay,” Mr Joyce says.
The Action Plan identifies nine priority work areas across the wider region that provide a range of opportunities for new investment and growth, Mr Guy says. “They include agribusiness, aquaculture, education and skills, forestry and wood processing, geothermal, horticulture, Māori land utilisation, visitor economy, and water management.”
The Action Plan drives off the back of the Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study, an independent report published in May which identified a range of opportunities for growth, Mr Joyce says.
“Local and central government, businesses and iwi have worked together to develop a plan to take these opportunities forward. The development of the Action Plan has been led by Bay of Connections and prioritises the key actions, the next steps, and identifies who will lead that work.”
A key project is the Ōpōtiki Harbour Development Project, with Mr Joyce and Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell today also announcing Government funding of up to $3 million to validate the proposal.
“The Ōpōtiki Harbour project is an exciting, community-led strategy to revitalise the economy of the eastern Bay of Plenty through the development of aquaculture, related industries and most importantly, jobs,” Mr Joyce says.
“It aims to create a year-round navigable harbour entrance, and construct a new commercial wharf which will support a range of industries including processing facilities for the 3,800ha offshore marine farm.
“The Government has committed up to $3 million to test the viability of the project. The study will include geotechnical investigation and design options for the harbour entrance. The engineering assessment will be completed within the next two years in parallel with industry testing of the commercial viability of the mussel farm.”
Horticulture is also an important focus of the action plan for the region, Mr Guy says. “The next steps include investigating options to expand kiwifruit in the eastern Bay of Plenty, as another opportunity to grow jobs and attract investment to the region.”
More information and The Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Action Plan summary can be found on the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website:http://www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/bay-of-plenty