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Bay of Connections Update - May 2019
9 May 2019
Bay of Connections Update - May 2019
In our January update, we outlined the findings from the independent review of Bay of Connections (BOC), a review brought about after ten years of activity.
 
Since then, a small working group has led an engagement process with councils, economic development agencies (EDAs), business and iwi representatives.
 
The feedback from this engagement process has provided a general consensus that a regional economic development effort is required, both to ensure a regional overview of cross-cutting opportunities and challenges, and to connect more effectively with stakeholders.
 
As a result of these discussions, the working group has developed a set of recommendations regarding the potential form and function of a future regional development effort.
 
This includes providing the right support that local areas need, to help advance both local priorities and regional opportunities, so that our whole region can prosper. It is very much about taking a bottom up approach in helping councils, EDAs and industry to achieve tangible economic results that benefit us all.
 
It also includes a focus on a few key areas which impact us all, like the Māori economy, infrastructure and a low carbon economy, and a continued role for BOC acting to connect the region and help engage with government.
 
The working group have recommended the establishment of a new skills-based leadership group to provide insights and direction to the regional development team, including an independent chair. That group is intended to identify priorities and guide where the BOC programme can best add value to the work being done by stakeholders in the region.
 
These recommendations will be discussed at this week’s Bay of Plenty Regional Council (BOPRC) meeting on Thursday, 9 May 2019. You can read the working group’s recommendations and the supporting paper on the council agenda here.
 
Expressions of Interest
 
Should the BOPRC adopt the working group’s recommendations, expressions of interest will be sought for appointments to the new leadership group, and also the independent chair role. These roles will have a paid stipend. Further details will be provided in due course.
 
Provincial Growth Fund update
 
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau recently announced up to $200,000 a year of funding per region for up to two years will be made available to organisations in regions eligible for PGF funding.
 
The funding is open to regional economic development agencies (EDAs) or other groups working in regional economic development, and applications for funding will be subject to standard assessment processes.
 
Further examples of the PGF investment in the region include the $25 million injection into the Eastern Bay supporting three aquaculture projects including a proposal to establish a deep water mussel farm and on-land mussel processing factory. Once complete, this has the potential to create more than 200 jobs.
 
In September last year, it was also announced $27.4million of funding will be invested to redevelop the Rotorua Lakefront and Whakarewarewa Forest to generate significant iwi and private investment, create hundreds of new jobs and unlock Rotorua’s potential as a world class tourist destination.
 
Bay of Plenty highlights
  • 90 projects seeking funding in Bay of Plenty
  • $448m total funding sought by both Eol and Applications in Bay of Plenty
  • $60m funding announced in Bay of Plenty
  • 1 project was sent to IAP/SRO in February for Bay of Plenty
 
So far, the PGF has announced $736m in funding across New Zealand – the Bay of Plenty has secured just over 8% of that. The government also announced earlier this year a $100m investment to support Māori landowners and drive regional growth, and a $82.4m investment towards initiatives to boost skills and employment.
 
We would like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has provided feedback to the working group. Your contribution has been significant, and the information gathered valuable.
 
Ngā manaakitanga.