Bay News column

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Last Friday I was at the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s City Leaders Lunch for a panel discussion with Mayor Stuart Crosby and 2014 Westpac Business Leader Steve Saunders.

We covered a wide range of topics, but I focused my address on the local economy – how it is doing and where it is heading in the future. Tauranga is doing better than most other regions. It is well placed to continue to grow, both in established sectors like horticulture and emerging sectors such as ICT.

The National-led Government knows that to build a more productive and competitive economy we need the regions to maximise their full potential.

That’s why we’re doing things like building the Tauranga Eastern Link, putting in ultra-fast and rural broadband and encouraging the building of new homes with Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas.

The local New Zealand Trade & Enterprise branch is currently engaged with over 60 local businesses to help enter or expand export markets. Through the Regional Business Partners Network 119 companies have received Capability Development Vouchers to help manage their growth.

Budget 2015 also had a number of initiatives to support regions like the Bay of Plenty.

We are investing $25 million over three years for new Regional Research Institutes to support innovation in the regions. There is an $80 million boost over four years to R&D growth grants to support innovative Kiwi businesses carry out research and development.

Over 90,000 people are set to benefit from the new KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme. I am holding a public meeting with Housing Minister Nick Smith and Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller this coming Monday evening. You can contact my electorate office for more details if you wish to come along.

These, and other initiatives, are a continuation of our strong programme to build a brighter future across regional New Zealand.