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Skills Initiative To Boost Eastern BOP Economy

The Honorable Jim Anderton

Minister for Economic Development
Minister for Industry and Regional Development
Minister Responsible for Public Trust Office
Associate Minister of Health

Media Release

Date: 15 October 2004
Skills Initiative To Boost Eastern Bay of Plenty Economy

Minister for Industry and Regional Development, Jim Anderton today announced that the Eastern Bay of Plenty is set to receive $2 million from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Regional Partnership Programme for a Major Regional Initiative (MRI).

The MRI – with potential to add $1.3 billion to national economy over 12 years – involves the establishment of an engineering education programme designed to grow the regional skills base and meet the needs of the region’s processing industries.

The Kawerau Education and Training Trust (KETT) which includes founding partner Kawerau College will work with Auckland University of Technology (AUT) to develop a National Centre of Maintenance Excellence (NCME) in a collaborative initiative backed by Norske Skog and Fonterra. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU) was also a founding trustee, says Mr Anderton.

“Forestry and dairy processing are the biggest employers and export earners for this region. The international competitiveness of these industries is closely linked to their ability to source appropriate skills that can add value to what the region produces.”

“By investing in people and skills, the NCME will help drive productivity improvements within New Zealand’s processing industries. It will focus on addressing a mixture of homegrown workforce and industrial issues, and includes a powerful presence of community, education, industry training, union and infrastructure stakeholders - all working together on activities that will enhance the region’s and New Zealand’s export base,” says Mr Anderton.

Mr Anderton says, that the Eastern Bay of Plenty MRI, like others around the country will encourage innovation and entrepreneurship and link regional strengths with global opportunities.

ENDS

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