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Manukau Stands Tall at Mexico Conference

Media Release
20 December 2002

Manukau Stands Tall at Mexico Conference

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says the World Technopolis Association (WTA) conference confirmed that Manukau is a global leader in economic development.

The Association’s 3rd general assembly meeting was held in Monterrey, Mexico in early December. Sir Barry, Manukau City Council’s community and economic development director, Dr Praful Rambhai, and Enterprising Manukau’s industry development manager Alta Vos attended.

The WTA is a co-operative international organisation with a membership made up councils and other territorial local authorities that have hi-tech science parks, research-oriented universities or businesses within their boundaries. Manukau City Council has been a member of the WTA since April last year.

“This conference gave Manukau significant international exposure. It also gave us an indication of Manukau’s position globally, and allowed us to create valuable networks with other cities and countries. In spite of the fact that, globally, Manukau is a small city in a small country with fewer resources, our strategic thinking is more advanced than most other member countries,” says Sir Barry.

Council’s presentation to the conference highlighted the SmartManukau strategy and the development of Highbrook, the hi-tech business park planned on the Waiouru peninsula.

“Delegates appreciated our triple bottom line approach and we were recognised as a city committed to creating a knowledge economy as a means for prosperity and growth for our people.

“Most other countries focus only on attracting investment from external sources to create economic growth. While we also do this in Manukau, we have an emphasis on building our workforce skills and capability, and on giving our people easy access to information so they can add value to our economy and our community,” says Sir Barry.

This approach is backed up by Manukau’s results in the latest Bartercard Global Entepreneurship Monitor NZ 2002. It found that Manukau is the leading entepreneurial city in the country, has higher entrepeneurship rates than the United States and ranks near the top of the world overall.

Sir Barry said that it was very clear that Manukau is on the right track. “We are ‘right up there’ from a global perspective, as well as nationally. We received extremely positive feedback on our presentation, and the president of the Association has specifically asked for Manukau’s assistance in setting the future direction of the WTA.”

Council’s economic development staff will follow through on the ideas and contacts found at the conference to see what initiatives can be implemented here.

ENDS

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