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Regional Partnerships Announcement Round 2

Hon Jim Anderton Speech Notes

Speech notes for Dargaville Field Days

12 Noon Thursday, 1 March 2001

Dargaville racecourse

I am pleased to be here today.

Northland is one region that this Labour Alliance Coalition Government has said will be a priority for regional development.

For many years, Government has not been available as a partner for New Zealand communities in economic development. I am here as the representative of this Government to assist you to work through your issues in the spirit of co-operation and partnership.

It is good to be here to get on with the job. While I am in Northland I will be looking at forestry and wood processing issues and talking with key people in the industries that power your local economy.

I am also pleased to meet with local authority and iwi representatives.

For the first time in many years a Minister in a New Zealand Government can say "I'm from the Ministry of Economic, Regional and Industry Development and I'm here to help" -- with a real chance of being believed.

As Minister for Economic Development and as a proud New Zealander I am interested in making our country the best it can be.

When the Labour Alliance Coalition Government was elected in 1999 we knew there was a lot to be done.

The challenges included:
* restoring people's faith in Government;
* addressing a broad range of social issues, such as health, education, social welfare and housing;
* developing our economy to support all New Zealanders and a sustainable future for our children and our land.

We have made economic and regional development, and getting New Zealanders to work our number one priority.

Helping one area does not mean ignoring another. If we build stronger regions the New Zealand economy is stronger.

Our towns and communities are the backbone of this nation and our economy.

I am clear that the future of New Zealand lies in the hands of New Zealanders. If we need to, we can put together international partnerships, attract foreign investment, and work with technology from overseas.

But Kiwis are our major asset and building on our skills and advantages will create our future.

The key factor is partnership. This Government will work in partnership with the private sector, as well as local and regional communities.

We are working with Northland.

The Northland region is well down the path of developing a strategy that is agreed to and accepted by local government, local iwi and local business.

You have already started to create your regional partnerships.

We need regions working together to sort out their top priorities for economic development.

It's actually a start just to get whole regions working together in this way.

The Government is playing its part.

We are working with Northland.

In fact the Northland Region recognised the value of co-operating to develop a consistent regional economic strategy before the Government announced its Regional Partnerships Programme.

The Mayoral Forum sponsored the project and the Community Trust put up $100,000.

A specially formed Maori Task Group is helping with the kaupapa of the process.

Consultants have been working since December.

Your sustainable economic strategy process is now well under way.

I'm sure you've seen the brochures and advertisements.

An essay competition is being run to get school children interested.

There's also a stand here at the Show where you can go and give your views on Northland's development - and perhaps offer to help with the strategy process.

This is a strong regional development process.

It is a true partnership of local government, business, iwi and community groups.

The Government is pleased to be a part of it as well through the involvement of both the Department of Work and Income Regional Commissioner, as well as the Ministry of Economic Development.

My Ministry will provide analytical and other support for the project.

This will help to ensure that consultations can be extended and some of the research deepened.

In addition we are working with the Mayoral Forum to take forward four projects that they believe will bring economic benefit to Northland:

First, The Government has established a Taskforce to look at the challenges facing the wood processing industry and how New Zealand can extract maximum value from forests like those in Northland. This Taskforce comprises people from the wood industry, local government and central government.

Second, we're looking at increasing the bandwidth available for telecommunications in Northland - and particularly at the feasibility of satellite or wireless communication.

Third, we're putting together a case for funding a soil and climate mapping exercise in the Northern Kaipara and Southern Hokianga area

Fourth, we're seeing what can be done to assist with opening the waterways of Northland for commercial use.

The Government is also helping through the Regional Partnerships programme"

Today I can announce the results of the second round of the Regional Partnerships programme.

Industry New Zealand's Regional Partnerships Programme makes funding available to regions to develop plans, build capability and help to implement those plans.

Ultimately, funding of up to $2 million per region is available to contribute to major regional initiatives that come out of the strategies that regions themselves develop.

I am now pleased to announce the next five regions to join the programme.

This is the second round of funding as decided by the Board of Industry New Zealand.

* The Wairarapa has been allocated $80,000 for strategic planning.

* Tairawhiti will receive $155,000 for strategic planning and capacity building.

* Hawkes Bay is to get just under $100,000, ($99,688) for strategic planning.

* The Kapiti Horowhenua region will receive $51,187 also for strategic planning.

And finally I am very pleased to be able to tell you that the Northland region will receive $200,000 for strategic planning and capacity building.

Industry New Zealand is the Government's jobs machine. It's working with regions and industries and to provide advice and programmes to help people in business or with business ideas.

In addition to funding of the type I've announced today, businesses and industries are receiving specialist advice through Industry New Zealand.

We have secured industry experts to give top quality business advice which is making a significant difference.

Often the value of specialist advice and expertise is not fully appreciated.

Last week I inspected the first of three new locally made fire engines going from Lower Hutt to fight fires in South Australia. The successful company, Fraser Fire and Rescue, received some advice on contracts from Industry New Zealand.

What was significant for this company was that they had all the know-how and capital needed to make them very successful. What they lacked was specialist contract preparation experience. Industry New Zealand was able to provide the necessary advice and this has resulted in export orders from overseas.

We need to foster and reward our innovation because that is crucial to our success.

At the end of last year I met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore. Singapore is a country to which we used to provide aid. However in the last 30 years, with very little in the way of natural resources, they have targeted and addressed the barriers to economic growth to the point that their country has huge cash reserves.

Yet the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore told me that he envied New Zealand. And if we have something they envy then we need to take note. I asked him what it was that he envied about New Zealand. His reply was it is the ability of kiwis to be innovative and creative.

We have to produce, retain and attract the people we need. The challenge for New Zealand is to be a country that is attractive to skilled and talented individuals. Attractive enough for them to invest their energy and resources and attractive enough to live in.

We need a country that is confident in its own unique culture. We need to see New Zealand performers on the world’s stages. We need to be proud of what we do and the unique, distinctive way we do things.

As I've travelled around New Zealand visiting regions, I've found that Kiwis are positive about the future. It is also clear that it is out in the regions and in our communities that the future is being made.

As a nation we have to realise that lifting our nation up is over to us. We need to work together to create the New Zealand that we want.

I am pleased today to be able to confirm funding for your region. I am pleased you can get on with making your region more productive and I look forward to working with you in partnership to achieve this.


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