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Region welcomes Growth Study

Region welcomes Growth Study

Central government plans are underway for a Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Growth Study to prioritise investment and economic development opportunities for the Horizons region.

Announced today in Levin by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy, the study will provide the evidence-base to then develop a separate, regional-led action plan focusing on agribusiness.

The study will be managed in partnership between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), as well as local government, and will draw on public and private sector expertise from across the region.

It will provide a comprehensive analysis of the regional economy, its current comparative and competitive advantages, the constraints that need to be addressed and the opportunities for development, as well as identify actions needed to strengthen the region’s economy.

Horowhenua Mayor Brendan Duffy welcomes the Regional Growth Study and says the fact that Ministers Joyce and Guy together with the region's Mayors attended today's announcement is "hugely significant".

Mayor Duffy says economic development and growth in provincial towns and regions is vital.

"But collaboration is the driver of success – we all need to work together. Our region is ideally located for this project – we will be leaders for the rest of New Zealand."

Horowhenua Economic Development Board chairperson Cam Lewis says the Regional Growth Study is very exciting for the Horowhenua.
"We are already one of the most productive dairy farming districts in the North Island, producer of great vegetables from our productive horticultural soils and have a successful food processing sector," Mr Lewis said.
"With our district’s natural resource assets, we are in the prime position to gain a lot from this initiative and in doing so create more jobs and increase prosperity for the Horowhenua."
The study's working group spokesperson Craig Nash, of Spearhead Manawatu, says that bringing together industry expertise with local and central government is essential, but that the work cannot simply stop with the study’s completion.

“It’s important to not only conduct a study, but to be able to take the knowledge and act on it," he said.

“Leaders across the region are looking to develop a comprehensive agribusiness strategy focused on understanding markets, maximising the value from our land, distribution infrastructure and investment.

“There is a huge opportunity to grow our economy, understand our markets and further develop our agribusiness sector by utilising a regional approach across all districts in the Horizons region."

ENDS

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