Bay News column

Thursday, May 21, 2015

All of us who live here know the natural advantages that make the Bay of Plenty the best place in the country to live. A recently released report commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry for Primary Industries highlights how the region can better leverage these for more economic growth.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study is the third of its kind, following similar reports on the East Coast and Northland, and discusses how the region’s climate, proximity to Auckland, access to sustainable water resources, growing population and good quality transport infrastructure mean there are significant opportunities we can capitalise on. I look forward to working with industry, iwi and local government to help realise these opportunities.

I hosted a very successful public meeting with the Rules Reduction Taskforce Tuesday. This was in response to the Government’s initiative announced last year to ‘cut the red tape’ and reduce unnecessary costs and delays to people trying to make alterations to their homes and properties.

Everyone knows someone that has a horror story about these planning rules and regulations, and these workshops give people the opportunity to tell those who will be advising the Government on which ones need to be fixed or removed. Property developer and former MP Bob Clarkson certainly had one or two things to say about the bureaucrats!

I will be sure to update you once the Taskforce has completed these public meetings and reports back to Government.

By the time you read this, the Budget will have been announced by Finance Minister Bill English. Budget 2015 is about continuing on our path to build a stronger and more competitive economy and keeping Government spending under control, while also delivering better public services.

In my next column I will outline the Government’s decisions around new spending, as well as the updated economic and fiscal forecasts.