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Phase Two of Northland Economic Action Plan launched

A refreshed Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan has been launched containing 80 community-strengthening projects, with many already coming to fruition across the region.

Phase Two of the Action Plan launched yesterday (note to sub: Monday, 2 September) by Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, has seen several new projects added, with many Phase One projects moving down the action pipeline.

The projects work to enable prosperous and resilient Tai Tokerau communities, through growing a safe, resilient and efficient multi-model transport system; a state-of-the-art technology eco-system; a thriving Tai Tokerau māori economy; an equitable environment for whānau wellbeing, a top regional visitor destination; better use of water and a skilled local workforce.

The Action Plan, first launched in February 2016, is a ten-year horizon plan and living economic development document, which means it is consistently updated, encouraging new projects to be included as existing projects come to completion.

“Initiatives developed by Tai Tokerau for Tai Tokerau, supported nationally, are helping stimulate and grow local economies, boost jobs, grow skills and attract new investment,” said Harry Burkhardt, the Action Plan Advisory Group Chair. “This is about a coordinated approach with industry, communities, hapū and iwi, along with local governance and central government stakeholders. We are working to our strengths to transform high-trust collaborative relationships.”

Projects already delivered in Phase One of the Plan include the prototype Growth Industries Pathway in Kaikohe, the Pou Herenga Tai Twin Coast Cycle Trail, a strategic opportunities study into water storage and a Workforce Stocktake Report identifying issues related to labour demand and the attraction and retention of labour in Northland.

The first Plan also celebrated the Hawaiki Cable construction and landing, the upgrading of the Mangakahia Road to a State Highway, as well as developing Communities of Learning across Tai Tokerau.

More completed projects include the recent completion of Stage 1 of both the Hihiaua Cultural Centre and Bay of Islands Airport, a manuka planting initiative, the establishment of QRC Tai Tokerau Resort College, employment research for primary sector employers, Te Kakano – the stand-alone sculpture built in Hundertwasser’s unique style in Whangarei – improvements at Whangarei Airport, and destination positioning along the Twin Coast route.

Phase Two projects feature everything from rail options, Far North water use and storage, to digital improvements such as marae connectivity, digital and skills hubs. It includes investment in youth through a range of initiatives including pathways to employment, support for employers, further entrepreneurial eco-system/business support network and implementation of the International Education Strategy.
Providing employers
“The Extension 350 farmer-mentoring programme will continue, as will support for the implementation of the Joint Te Hiku Crown Work Programme, while also enabling development of primary industries in horticulture, honey, aquaculture and forestry,” said Jude Thompson, Portfolio Manager for the Action Plan.

“Our tourism industry is a big focus, too, with the Plan featuring a number of enhanced and new Māori cultural experiences, the development of a new destination management and marketing plan for Northland, and the completion of Northland Journeys network, as well as cycleway plans and other visitor experiences.”

High-value manufacturing is one to watch in Northland with some innovative approaches coming through for the marine and energy sectors, flora and manufacturing.

“As a surge region, Tai Tokerau is seeing significant investment from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) and long overdue benefits for our communities and whānau. Multiple teams behind the Action Plan have been working hard and collaborating to advance these projects over the last three years,” said Ms Thompson. “We are a region rich in innovation, passion and potential and are collectively working hard to ensure the rising tide of opportunities lifts all waka – not just some.”

The Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan is guided by an Advisory Group, chaired by Harry Burkhardt, Iwi representative and Chair of Ngati Kuri Trust Board, along with members June McCabe, Company Director/MBA; Lindsay Faithfull, CEO of McKay Group; Dr Jason Smith, Kaipara District Mayor; Ben Dalton, Senior Regional Official for Northland; Marama Edwards, SRO designate; Ajit Balasingham, Director of United Infrastructure & Strategic Advisor; Bill Shepherd, Chair of Northland Regional Council; and driven by a Working Group.

The Advisory Group is charged with overseeing the implementation of the Action Plan, agreeing priorities and setting the strategic direction as the Action Plan progresses. The Working Group is charged with driving and enabling project and programme implementation. The Action Plan is overseen by Ms Jude Thompson and Selina Kunac (Portfolio Support), with strong support from stakeholders, including local and central government. These partnerships are facilitated by Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency for Northland.

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