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Strategy seeks to maximise the Wairarapa advantage

Wairarapa has set itself an aspirational goal to offer the best of rural and urban living in a strategy for economic development unveiled this evening.

The Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy is the culmination of work across the region’s sectors and stakeholders – including the Masterton, Carterton, South Wairarapa District Councils, the Greater Wellington Regional Council, WREDA and Iwi.

It targets three key industries to help lift the prosperity of the region overall; value-added food and beverage, knowledge intensive sectors and tourism.

“These are the industries where we know the Wairarapa already has an advantage and the potential for real growth,” Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said.

“Capitalising on these advantages makes sense; helped by its proximity to Wellington, the Wairarapa is uniquely placed to attract professionals and businesses that work in knowledge-intensive sectors.

“These professions feed other industries and present opportunities for training younger people and skills development.”

Key success measures include greater diversification into value-added primary products, continued increase in knowledge-intensive industries (such as information technology) and a year-round calendar of conferences, events and attractions.

The strategy also recognises that the region’s knowledge and skills, business and housing/accommodation need to be developed to enable key industries to grow.

It also targets key objectives under infrastructure and environment to enable success, such as improving our rail services, tapping into the One Billion Trees Fund and adequate water storage to ensure reliable supply.

Former Labour Minister and Vice-Chancellor of Massey University Steve Maharey has supported development of the strategy, alongside the region’s Mayors, Iwi and key stakeholders.

He said it was pleasing to see traction already being made in some key areas of focus.

“News that an agreement has been reached over developing a significant aviation-focused visitor attraction at Hood Aerodrome is a positive milestone,” Mr Maharey said.

Following the launch of the strategy, the next step is finalising arrangements for the oversight of the implementation phase, with Dame Margaret Bazley to head up the governance group.

Each of the region’s Mayors will champion one of the key focus industries with Carterton Mayor John Booth leading on food and beverage, South Wairarapa Mayor Viv Napier tourism and Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson knowledge-intensive industries.

WREDA Chief Executive Lance Walker says WREDA is looking forward to working alongside key stakeholders and partners to help bring life to the strategy.

“Targeting Wairarapa’s value-added food and beverage, knowledge intensive sectors and tourism will help unlock the region’s potential for business growth and make it an even better place to live, work and visit.

“Identifying the correct path forward is half the battle when formulating economic strategies and we are confident that it will bear fruit for the region.”

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