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Future for regions under focus at conference

9 February 2005

Future for regions under focus at conference

Delegates are stepping up to the challenge of shaping their region’s future, with strong early interest in next month’s Regional Development Conference in Napier.

The national conference, themed Our Future – Our Potential – Our Choices, runs from March 21-23. It is focused on moving regional development in New Zealand up a level to meet the demands of a changing international environment.

Conference spokesperson, Roger Wigglesworth, Principal Advisor, Ministry of Economic Development says registrations have already topped 200, well ahead of interest at the same time for the previous two conferences.

“It is exciting to see that so many people are keen to be part of moving regional development forward in New Zealand. This level of interest promises an exciting and challenging event.”

This year’s conference is focusing on practical steps to develop regional growth, including challenges and opportunities, untapped regional resources, skills and talents, and regional development leadership and partnership in action.

“It’s important that regions keep pace with the changing global situation – of the competition for skills, of changing consumer tastes, of new ideas and opportunities. It’s up to participants in regional development to make the choices and to seize those opportunities that will create the future they desire for their region,” Roger Wigglesworth says.

“There are many success stories, but if regions are to survive, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.”

Keynote speakers include Martin Briggs, Chief Executive of East Midlands Regional Development Agency. His work has included generating overseas investment in regions in Britain and guiding regional development so that East Midlands is a top 20 region by 2010.

[RDC/2] Industry and Regional Development Minister, Hon Jim Anderton will give the opening address at the conference. He will focus on where regional development in New Zealand is heading and what has been achieved since the last Regional Development Conference in Timaru two years ago, and since the first in Rotorua in 2001. The conference is jointly hosted by the Minister, the Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, EDANZ and the Hawke’s Bay region.

ENDS

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