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Northland has enormous growth potential

Northland has enormous growth potential

Northland's economy has performed superbly in the last year with some inspiring examples of local success but there is still enormous growth potential.

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Northland's economy has performed superbly in the last year with some inspiring examples of local success but there is still enormous growth potential, Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"Despite Northland being one of the highest performing regions in 2005, based on regional economic indicators, there is still room to grow. There are 12,000 businesses in the region, less than 2 percent of which earn over $100,000," Trevor Mallard said during a regional economic development visit to the area.

"Studies show that too often New Zealand companies undervalue what they have to offer on an international stage and compared to other countries with similar populations we are reluctant to engage in offshore markets.

"The Labour-led government is committed to working with business to combat these barriers and transform our economy into a high income, knowledge-based export-led economy, which is both innovative and creative."

During his visit to Northland Trevor Mallard spent time at Whangarei-based company Specialist Marine Interiors (SMI), which specialises in marine design, refits and interiors. SMI, with assistance from NZTE's Enterprise Networks grants scheme and also the government's Beachheads Programme in Fort Lauderdale, is successfully operating on the marine industry's world stage.

"The success of SMI in overcoming barriers to exporting provides an excellent example for other Northland businesses, and businesses across the country.

"SMI has shown that it is possible to overcome the 'tyranny of distance' facing many New Zealand manufacturers, by embracing communications technology and innovation. It should be an inspiration to others looking to do the same."

SMI uses an innovative system they have pioneered to design and build complete boat interiors without needing the vessel. They use Computer Aided Design technology to scan the 3D space and then build the interior. The finished product is air freighted to international shipyards for installation in the vessel. They have received four NZTE Enterprise Networks grants to exhibit and attend international conferences.

"Innovation and enterprise is what successful exporting is all about. We need more of this type of lateral thinking if we are to break down the barriers and play on our strengths," Trevor Mallard said.
Trevor Mallard also visited family owned business TDC Sawmills as part of his economic development visit today.


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