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Rotorua’s potential to grow and benefit all

Vision Rotorua

Media Statement 2

24 August 2004 - 3 pm

"Rotorua's potential to grow and benefit all in Rotorua"

Vision Rotorua (an independent group initiated through the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce) has released its Action Plan to assist the future development of the Rotorua District. The Action Plan recognises that Rotorua is a great place to live, but is missing out on tremendous opportunities which are having an increasing impact on the future progress of the district.

The Action Plan acknowledges, "the strengths of Rotorua are with its people, cultures, natural environment and financial and intellectual capital. These are all strengths that can transform the district. Rotorua has competitive advantages in a number of industry sectors such as tourism, forestry and agriculture, and a built environment that has had significant investment in recent years. The district also faces a number of challenges such a lack of personal and commercial investment, relatively low levels of educational achievement, lower incomes than other parts of New Zealand and a large group of dependent people".

While Vision Rotorua can see tremendous opportunities in Rotorua, the group wishes to acknowledge some of the great initiatives going on now with the Energy Events Centre and to build on the good work that has been undertaken over recent years in Rotorua.

However, as retiring Councillor Peter Barry stated in the Daily Post on Saturday 14 August 2004, "Rotorua is at the crossroads". Vision Rotorua believes that "there is a need to change some fundamental matters in the district, including attitudes, structures and approaches to business and property investment, tourism marketing and general economic development. In short there needs to be recognition of endeavour, enterprise and success in all areas of Rotorua generally, but in particular for investment in development and business to lift the well being and opportunities for all of Rotorua's residents.

There is also the need to have more of a "Team Rotorua" approach so that all areas are "Flying in Formation".

Vision Rotorua believes that "the issues and opportunities that have been identified need to be embraced by all sections of the Rotorua community to create a vibrant and prosperous district. These issues need to be addressed in a meaningful way, as too often these matters are given only lip service".

There are a plethora of opportunities in Rotorua. Vision Rotorua has identified the need to build on our strengths with our lakes, geothermal resources, forestry, built infrastructure, culture, people, good quality housing, centrality and lifestyle.

Vision Rotorua believes that the key role businesses have in lifting Rotorua is not being recognised, that an enterprise culture is critical for the success of our community and that success only comes through endeavour. The group also believes that we must work with surrounding areas, such as the Western Bay of Plenty, to encourage growth.

A major fact the group believes needs to be discussed more openly is that the issues confronting the future of Rotorua are not one or two people's issues; they are everyone's issues. The Chair of the group, Deryck Shaw, says "the need for Rotorua to do well is an issue for all of us in Rotorua".

The group has identified that there are major opportunities to broaden the economic base of Rotorua through recognition of other sectors of the economy (e.g. manufacturing, transport hub, and innovation, development and commercialisation of intellectual property).

The initiatives that the group has identified will result in offering more alternatives to that of a dependency culture in Rotorua. These things will lead to Rotorua being known as a leader in areas such as cultural development and environmental management by utilising our unique people and resources.

Vision Rotorua knows that it will have done its job when Rotorua is recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in terms of enterprise (includes business development and innovation), education, cultural development and environmental management. This will lead to:

- Average wage rates lifting on a sustainable basis.

- Growth in numbers of people in employment.

- A substantial rise in the well being of our general population, increasing opportunities for people and decreasing crime, resulting in a happier safer community.

- Establishment of new businesses and encouragement of existing businesses to grow.

- Recognition of Rotorua residents and businesses for their endeavour and encouragement to take an active part in growing Rotorua.

Vision Rotorua believes that the next steps from here are to obtain a commitment by people standing in the local elections in Rotorua to:

1. Convene a Rotorua Economic Development Summit and Action Plan following the local body elections (November 2004).

2. Review and understand the full potential of the unique combination of assets in the district: unique Maori culture, beautiful lakes and bush, thermal assets, central North Island location for business, advantages in agriculture and forestry, potentially the most exciting city in New Zealand (November 2004 - February 2005).

3. Review and remove the roadblocks to investing in business, property and environmentally enhancing land use (November 2004 - February 2005).

4. Review the future structure of Tourism Rotorua and general economic development in Rotorua (November 2004 - February 2005).

5. Ensure that Rotorua's story (i.e. the tremendous opportunities in Rotorua) is told throughout New Zealand (ongoing).

6. Provide a commitment for public agencies such as the Rotorua District Council (RDC) to benchmark their structure and operation and to assess whether they are providing the best value to the people of Rotorua (November 04 - February 2005).

7. Ensure that RDC is customer friendly in terms of how it interacts with the general public and business people in Rotorua (ongoing).

8. Commit to working with all groups (e.g. business and education) to grow the Rotorua economy (November 2004 - February 2005).

9. Work as a team when elected and commit to the "Rotorua Flying in Formation" concept (ongoing).

Vision Rotorua, is an independent body formed to see Rotorua grow and develop. The members of Vision Rotorua have made a commitment to endorse the tremendous opportunities in Rotorua and to work to achieve the best for our district. While the group has appointed Deryck Shaw as Chair, all members are authorised to speak on behalf of the group.

The founding members of Vision Rotorua are:

Bob Macfarlane

Deryck Shaw

Doug Tamaki

Fiona Thompson

Joe La Grouw

Ken Iles

Lachlan McKenzie

Malcom Short

Martin Lobb

Mike Fletcher

Mike Tamaki

Noel Brown

Ray Cook

Reynold Macpherson

Rick Vallance

Russell Dale

Warren Harford

Vision Rotorua encourages those who support the aims of the group to identify their support by contacting any member of the group.

Statement ends

Vision Rotorua

Action Plan:

An Outline of Key Issues Facing the Future of Rotorua District and Opportunities for the District to Grow

Prepared for the Residents of Rotorua District

by

Vision Rotorua

24 August 2004

Contents

1.0 INTRODUCTION 3

1.1 THE ROLE OF VISION ROTORUA 3

2.0 SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS 4

3.0 OPPORTUNITIES 5

4.0 VISION 6

4.1 OUTCOMES 6

4.2 WHAT IS REQUIRED? 7

5.0 THE CHANGES REQUIRED 8

5.1 STRUCTURAL CHANGES 8

6.0 WHERE TO FROM HERE FOR ROTORUA? 9

7.0 MEMBERS OF VISION ROTORUA 10

1.0 Introduction

Rotorua District is a great place to live, but is missing out on tremendous opportunities which are having an increasing impact on the future progress of the district.

The strengths of Rotorua are with its people, cultures, natural environment and financial and intellectual capital. These are all strengths that can transform the district. Rotorua has competitive advantages in a number of industry sectors such as tourism, forestry and agriculture, and a built environment that has had significant investment in recent years. It also faces a number of challenges such as relatively low levels of educational achievement, lower incomes than other parts of New Zealand and a large group of dependent people.

While Vision Rotorua can see tremendous opportunities in Rotorua, we wish to acknowledge some of the great initiatives going on now with the Energy Events Centre and to build on the good work that has been undertaken over recent years in Rotorua.

However, as retiring Councillor Peter Barry stated in the Daily Post on Saturday 14 August 2004, "Rotorua is at the cross roads". Vision Rotorua believes that there is a need to change some fundamental matters in the district, including attitudes, structures and approaches to business and property investment, tourism marketing and general economic development. In short there needs to be recognition of endeavour, enterprise and success in all areas of Rotorua generally, but in particular for investment in development and business to lift the well being and opportunities for all our people to higher and better levels.

There is also the need to have more of a "Team Rotorua" approach so that all areas are "Flying in Formation".

The issues and opportunities that have been identified need to be embraced by all sections of the Rotorua community to create a vibrant and prosperous district. These issues need to be addressed in a meaningful way, as too often these matters are given only lip service.

1.1 The Role of Vision Rotorua

Vision Rotorua is a Rotorua "Think Tank" group initiated through the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce, that has come together as an independent body, not allied to any particular political party or group. The individuals in the group have become involved because they are passionate about the future of Rotorua. The group has been formed because these individuals can see many opportunities for the district and are concerned about a lack of progress in key areas in Rotorua.

The role of the group is as a "Think Tank" to identify issues and identify solutions to address these.

The group comprises a cross-section of interests including forestry, tourism, agriculture, retail, manufacturing, construction, education, health, Maori business, professional services and many related areas. The group members have each volunteered their time to be involved in the group.

The group believes with the impending local government elections that the issues raised need to be considered.

2.0 Situational Analysis

Vision Rotorua has identified a number of significant issues in Rotorua District as follows:

1. More effective leadership in key areas such as economic development.

2. An under performing economy in terms of its underlying real potential.

3. Relatively little population growth (therefore a lack of demand).

4. A lack of focus by local government in some issues that are significant to the future of the district.

5. Inappropriate structures within local government, restrictive and economically debilitating application of district and regional planning requirements.

6. Lack of vision being articulated by current local government candidates around the future of Rotorua in areas such as economic development.

7. A Council that is perceived by many not to be proactive in terms of facilitating business development.

8. Perceived poor image of Rotorua by many New Zealanders as a relocation option, while internationally the image is perceived as strong. We need a repackaging of the brand in a domestic environment.

9. Lack of investment by new and existing firms in the district (e.g. forestry).

10. Politicalisation of economic development and tourism marketing and development.

11. A lack of assessing many of the activities in Rotorua in terms of whether there are better ways to do things - (because we have always undertaken something in a particular way does not mean we should always undertake things in the same way).

12. A need to deal with the issues in a considered, strategic and realistic manner.

3.0 Opportunities

There are a plethora of opportunities in Rotorua. Vision Rotorua has identified the need to:

1. Build competitive advantage around our lakes, geothermal resources, forestry, built infrastructure, culture, human capital, availability of affordable quality housing, centrality and lifestyle.

2. Recognise the rights of others and, in particular, the role of business in lifting economic growth in Rotorua. The whole district has to learn how to work with business, to encourage investment in the district. All agencies both central and local government in Rotorua should be saying - "how can we help Rotorua"? Rotorua (that is all of us) is a significant community and all should be contributing to this including business and industry organisations (e.g. Rotorua District Council, police, health, welfare and education).

3. Recognise that an enterprise culture is critical for our success and that success only comes through endeavour.

4. Work with surrounding areas, such as the Western Bay of Plenty, to encourage growth.

5. Understand that the issues confronting the future of Rotorua are not one or two people's issues; they are everyone's issues. The need for Rotorua to do well is an issue for all of us in Rotorua.

6. Organisations such as schools can be more aspirational and encourage their students to lift achievement in all areas.

7. Encourage greater school and student linkages with business, such as involvement in the Young Enterprise Scheme. In turn enterprise development will lift upward mobility and will therefore improve the quality and lifestyle of all in Rotorua.

8. Broaden the economic base of Rotorua through recognition of other sectors of the economy (e.g. manufacturing, transport hub, and innovation, development and commercialisation of intellectual property).

9. Utilise the central location of Rotorua for transport and distribution.

10. Offer alternatives to a dependency culture in Rotorua.

11. Become a leader in areas such as cultural development and environmental management by utilising our unique people and resources.

4.0 Vision

Rotorua will be recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in terms of enterprise (includes business development and innovation), education, cultural development and environmental management.

This will happen through:

- Facilitating growth in all sectors of the economy particularly in tourism, forestry and agriculture, and property.

- Assisting emerging industry sectors such as manufacturing, retail and transport.

- Actively encouraging innovation and investment.

- Facilitating ongoing upskilling of the Rotorua workforce.

- Encouraging and supporting endeavour.

- Ensuring all organisations and companies are responsive to customer needs.

Rotorua will achieve this vision through:

- A dynamic private sector.

- Facilitative local government and removal of stultifying road blocks to progress.

- Creating an environment where people wish to invest.

- Recognising our natural competitive advantages.

- Leveraging off highly educated and experienced people in business development.

This will be supported by active involvement of local and central government (including Rotorua District Council and NZ Trade and Enterprise, Ministry of Social Development), tertiary education and training providers and secondary schools.

4.1 Outcomes

Rotorua District residents will become much more informed of the tremendous opportunities in Rotorua and the district's economy will grow where:

- Average wage rates will lift on a sustainable basis.

- Growth in employment levels will occur.

- The well being of the general population will rise substantially, opportunities for people will increase, crime will decrease and a happier safer community will result.

- New businesses are established and existing businesses are encouraged to grow.

- Rotorua residents and businesses are recognised for their endeavour and are encouraged to take an active part in growing Rotorua.

This will lead to:

- A greater recognition of endeavour.

- A reduction in the dependency culture.

- All businesses and organisations in Rotorua being more customer focussed.

4.2 What is Required?

1. Provision of information to allow residents of Rotorua to be better informed including the presentation of options for the long-term benefit of the district.

2. An openness to review aspects of organisational structures and resource allocations, such as Tourism Rotorua and the Rotorua District Council Economic Development Unit, which are critical to the success of Rotorua.

3. A team approach to deal with the issues - we have too many people who want to be chiefs and few prepared to do the work.

4. The best people (i.e. in terms of their skills and experience) appointed to positions in the district rather than political appointments.

5. A multi-partisan approach to work through issues.

6. A receptive and proactive local and central government and their willingness to understand the needs of business.

7. The ability to introduce environmentally sound and enhancing land use change and property developments.

8. Formulation of an enterprise culture and growth of private sector investment in new and existing businesses. This will provide greater prosperity and opportunities for all.

9. Growing the economy to try and lift some of the low pay rates that are prevalent in some industry sectors so that higher incomes can sustain families.

10. Making a commitment to workforce development that will bring higher productivity.

11. Attraction of businesses to the district and employment of more highly skilled staff.

12. Attraction of people (both domestic and international) into Rotorua through lifestyle and business choices.

13. Making use of natural competitive advantages (such as in tourism, forestry, heritage, proximity to Tauranga and the port, central location).

14. Recognition of iwi asset base and regeneration of iwi through commercial success.

15. The development of innovation, incubation and enterprise centres in key areas of the economy such as forestry and tourism.

5.0 The Changes Required

This outline plan does not have all of the answers. However, Vision Rotorua believes that the following points provide a focus for change:

1. A well developed economic development strategy.

2. Support for current initiatives, such as the Rotorua Sustainable Tourism Charter.

3. A Council that is committed to economic development and is prepared to resource it appropriately.

4. Supportive and innovative District and Regional Plans.

5. Businesses and business organisations prepared to commit time and resources to the formulation and implementation of an economic development strategy.

6. A Council prepared to work proactively to support existing and new businesses coming to Rotorua.

7. All central and local government agencies and business organisations making commitments to high levels of customer service.

8. A change to the economic development and tourism marketing governance, management and organisational structures.

5.1 Structural Changes

Vision Rotorua proposes the following structural changes to support the creation of a vibrant and prosperous Rotorua District:

- That Tourism Rotorua, Rotorua District Council Economic Development Unit and Events Rotorua are separated from Council into a separate trust or company.

- That the trust or company is governed by a board of paid trustees/directors who are appointed because of their industry expertise, experience and passion.

- That all business sectors and industry sector group (including the Tourism Advisory Board and current separate portfolio groups/committees) provide advice to the new small focused board.

- That the new trust or company is be renamed (e.g. Enterprise Rotorua, ). It's for business, investment and lifting the opportunities for the people in Rotorua to achieve their full potential.

Rationale

A clearly focused trust or company will provide a strategic, active and innovative approach to general economic development and tourism marketing in Rotorua. Combining these will provide a pooling of resources, refocus these through requirements of agency, and the activities will be based on an annual well-developed business plan. This will enable the best people for the job to be selected and facilitate the development of further opportunities for the district (e.g. wood biotech incubator, enterprise park, transport hub). This best-practice model is used successfully in other parts of New Zealand, such as Enterprise Northland, Canterbury Development Corporation, Priority One, Tourism Auckland and Lake Taupo Development Company.

6.0 Where to From Here for Rotorua?

A commitment by people standing in the local elections in Rotorua to:

1. Convene a Rotorua Economic Development Summit and Action Plan following the local body elections.

2. Review and understand the full potential of the unique combination of assets in the district: unique Maori culture, beautiful lakes and bush, thermal assets, central NI location for business, advantages in agriculture and forestry, potentially the most exciting city/district in New Zealand.

3. Review and remove the road blocks to investing in business, property and environmentally enhancing land use.

4. Review the future structure of Tourism Rotorua and economic development in general in Rotorua.

5. Ensure that Rotorua's story (i.e. the tremendous opportunities in Rotorua) is told throughout New Zealand.

6. Provide a commitment for public agencies such as the Rotorua District Council to benchmark their structure and operation to assess whether they are providing the best value to the people of Rotorua.

7. Ensure that Council is customer friendly in terms of how it interacts with the general public and business people in Rotorua.

8. Commit to working with all groups (e.g. business, education) to grow the Rotorua economy.

9. Work as a team when elected and commit to the "Rotorua Flying in Formation" concept.

7.0 Members of Vision Rotorua

The present members of Vision Rotorua are:

Bob Macfarlane

Deryck Shaw

Doug Tamaki

Fiona Thompson

Joe La Grouw

Ken Iles

Lachlan McKenzie

Malcom Short

Martin Lobb

Mike Fletcher

Mike Tamaki

Noel Brown

Ray Cook

Reynold Macpherson

Rick Vallance

Russell Dale

Warren Harford


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