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Next steps

■ The draft plan is currently with MBIE and the Ministry for Primary Industries who are working with their colleagues in the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, NZTA and others to review. 
■ Final comments will be fed back in a few weeks and incorporated into the final plan.
■ The region and central government will agree on the content of the action plan and the Regional Economic Development Ministers group will sign off on the plan.
■ In the coming months the region and a range of Ministers will launch the action plan. This will include detail on how central government will support the plan.

Regional economic action plan with Government

16 April 2016, The Gisborne Herald

Genuinely collaborative approach produces living document to be launched by Government.

SENIOR officials at a number of ministries are reviewing a regional economic action plan Activate Tairawhiti and local business stakeholders have developed in partnership with the Government.

The local organisations have developed the economic development plan over recent months, and the Government is now considering how it can support the actions in the plan.

It is expected that comments from the ministries involved will be received by early next month then incorporated into a final plan. Once that is signed off it will be launched in the region, probably by several Ministers who will also announce how central government will support the plan.

“This opportunity came about through the Government’s Regional Growth Programme,” said Activate Tairawhiti chairman John Rae.

“They are looking for some potentially transformative projects that they can get behind and support. As the economic development agency, Activate Tairawhiti was tasked with leading the process.”

A local governance group was formed to oversee extensive consultations with the business community. This has resulted in input from Activate, Gisborne District Council, Eastland Community Trust, Eastland Group, iwi, Eastern Institute of Technology and a wide range of business leaders. The council has provided resources and assisted with this consultation.

Mr Rae says engagement and participation with the business community has been substantial and the response excellent, resulting in a genuinely collaborative approach.

He referred to council chief executive Judy Campbell’s reported comments in The Gisborne Herald this week about the business community being fully involved in the process.

“This is a business-led engagement. Local business leaders and representatives have shared their opinions, and we have presented the projects we all believe are important,” Mr Rae said.

“Early drafts of the plan have identified themes that have collective support. Improved existing regional infrastructure such as our roading network, airport terminal and port continue to be supported but also our new digital infrastructure has emerged as a key area of focus.

“Activate will continue to explore and develop all the actions that have been identified. The plan will be a living document that continues to be updated and expanded and acted on over time.”

The next steps at a local level were for the governance group to work with business to refine the actions into ones that could be delivered more immediately and, following the plan’s completion, those that would come forward over time.

“The Government may choose to contribute funding or expertise towards one or several significant actions in this plan, which would provide an extremely welcome boost to the region’s economy,” Mr Rae said.

“What is interesting is that by capturing actions relevant to specific businesses, such as coastal barging for logs, it means that businesses, the council and government get a much clearer picture of the inter-connectedness and the potential impact of their actions and therefore where to best work together for maximum local benefit.

“Tourism development is an example where a number of individual projects, led by the council’s Navigations Project and the Te Ha event, are coming together and demonstrating the true scale of local investment taking place in this industry.

“This outcome gives the Government a clear understanding of the range of opportunities presented by the region and where their effort is best directed to support local success.”

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