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Business Development Policy Succeeding

Business Development Policy Succeeding

Manukau City Mayor Sir Barry Curtis disagrees with claims made recently by Enterprising Manukau chairman Matthew Horton regarding Manukau City Council's economic development strategy.

The strategy is aimed at promoting growth in the local economy and helping businesses set up or expand in the city, and is a cornerstone Council policy. Mr Horton's comments were made at a recent Council committee meeting.

Sir Barry says the policy is clear, unequivocal and has been highly successful.

"The facts speak for themselves. We are the fastest growing city in the country. Each year hundreds of businesses choose to start up in Manukau, and hundreds of others expand. That's no coincidence. The Council has been strongly promoting the benefits of locating in our city for a long time, and this approach is guided by our basic strategy.

"The Economic Development Strategy was introduced in 1997. It has been a highly effective springboard for a wide range of measures that have produced economic growth, to the great benefit of the city. Leading business figures were involved in its creation.

"In addition, the strategy has succeeded in creating tens of thousands of jobs and contributed positively to the progress and increasing affluence of the city.

"We cannot take credit for every element of that success. After all, the benefits of Manukau are obvious, such as our superb location, and excellent infrastructure. But those benefits are made clear in our publicity and promotional activity.

"In addition, the Council's actions invigorate business growth through planning decisions, reducing compliance costs and creating the vital infrastructure which thriving businesses need. Manukau continues to build more new urban roads than any other council in the country.

"Our approach is also endorsed by the community. The policy was not drawn out of thin air. We consulted widely in its development, and its focus has been confirmed by the results of our recent Tomorrow's Manukau community consultation."

"The city's strategic location is also a clear focus of the material recently taken by me and a small team to Canada to attend the CoreNet Global Summit in Toronto. Our attendance definitely raised the profile of the city at this major international conference.

"Mr Horton questions the value of going there. I find that an extraordinary comment, given that we have been back only weeks, yet substantial investment decisions by overseas companies take time to make. It took years of work, for example, before Jack Link's foods set up its business in Mangere, creating hundreds of jobs.

"These things do not happen by chance. It takes investment in time, money and relationships. Attendance at events such as the CoreNet Global Summit is a long-established part of marketing, both in the private and public sectors, and in this case we were marketing our city and its economic opportunities. Our new approach is to actively market the city internationally, not just within New Zealand.

"I have no doubt we will see results from the Canada trip and there are many promising opportunities in the pipeline. If I and my team had not gone to the conference, the first steps would not have been taken.

"I want to state categorically I have full confidence in the economic development strategy and in the staff who are responsible for it. "


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