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Auckland Welcomes Economic Development Priorities

Auckland welcomes Government announcement on economic development priorities

**Strictly embargoed until 6pm, 4 December 2007**


Auckland regional economic development agency AucklandPlus has welcomed the Government’s announcement of six future economic development priorities.

Auckland featured prominently in Economic Development Minster Pete Hodgson’s Advancing Economic Transformation speech today.

AucklandPlus Chair Michael Barnett says all six national priorities outlined in the Minister’s speech are critical for Auckland and the region is already working to progress them.

The six priorities are:

·          Improving access to quality, fast, reliable broadband services;

·          Positioning New Zealand as a world-leading exponent of smart and innovative responses to environmental issues;

·          Developing workplace skills, with an emphasis on basic literacy and numeracy;

·          Supporting New Zealand businesses to go global and extract full value from the global supply chain;

·          Focussing government investment in six proposed areas that reflect and extend New Zealand’s strengths; and

·          Making Auckland a world-class hub of innovation and internationalisation.

“The priorities reflect objectives from Auckland’s Metro Project Action Plan which was launched in late 2006 and is being implemented,” Mr Barnett says.

“In particular we are working closely with the Government in the areas of broadband, workplace skills and innovation, which have come into sharper focus nationally through today’s announcement.”

Mr Barnett says innovation came through load and clear as the key to Auckland’s future in the Minister’s speech and cabinet papers also released today.

“A focus on innovation in Auckland reflects where we have been going with the Metro Project Action Plan over the past two years,” Mr Barnett says. “It is critical if we are to boost our export strength.”

He particularly welcomed the Government’s signal that is was moving to towards an expanded role in getting an Auckland Innovation Centre at the University of Auckland’s Tamaki campus off the ground.

“Establishing an Auckland Innovation Centre at Tamaki would show that Auckland is serious about research, development and innovation,” Mr Barnett says.
“It would not only help our goal of boosting Auckland’s innovation and export strength but would also send a signal to international markets and potentially attract greater foreign investment in Auckland,”

Mr Barnett says the close alignment of regional and national priorities reflects Central Government’s more co-ordinated presence in Auckland through the Government Urban and Economic Development Office and a close day to day working relationship with Auckland’s key agencies and business leaders.

“Clearly the Government cannot deliver on these future priorities alone and we look forward to working with them to build on the successes so far and make more headway for Auckland and New Zealand in 2008.”




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