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Intl. health and ecology business park in Oamaru

Media release – August 12, 2004

Announcement due on next stage of international health and ecology business park in Oamaru

Japanese food technology company Nikken Seil will next week unveil new plans for its International Health and Ecology Business Park in Oamaru.

The New Zealand health and ecology business project is being will be driven by Nikken Seil which is an arm of the Nikken Group. Last year they announced concept plans to develop a world centre for health and ecology in North Otago.

Next Thursday the Japanese company will hold a forum in Oamaru to announce construction start date and reveal more details about the food and health business park, opposite the Oamaru racecourse.

They hope the business park will attract businesses from around the world that are committed to health-related product and technology. The government said in June they would spend $90,000 on an infrastructure study to investigate issues surrounding the setting up of the business park.

Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton said the government funding would help the Waitaki District Council work out cost-sharing and funding arrangements.

Waitaki Development Board general manger Susan Houston said today Nikken Seil offered a huge economic development opportunity for Otago and New Zealand.

``North Otago has so much to offer as a region and Nikken also see development potential which will also benefit New Zealand.’’

Nikken Seil general manager Yoshitaka Koshimura said they were hoping their project would become a ‘’Japanese beachhead’’ in New Zealand.

Nikken Seil are on course to open their International College of health and ecology in February 2006. The college would have been opened earlier but for a major fire at the ex-Teschemakers school site south of Oamaru in June last year. The former Catholic girls’ boarding school was purchased by the Japanese group for about $500,000 in 2000.

Nikken also owns more than 150ha of fertile farmland south of Oamaru for an organics venture, the third part of their involvement in the district.

They have begun researching and trialing different vegetables to see which are best for export.

The organics proposal also includes a biotech food centre which could be developed to grow produce for research, processing and foods with specific health attributes.

Mr Koshimura said the Nikken operation was forecast to be worth about $10 million to the North Otago economy by the end of next year.


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