Waikato economic development agency Te Waka has released a four year plan that it hopes will drive the region's economic future.

Released at the Claudelands Event Centre by chairman Dallas Fisher, the Waikato Regional Economic Development Programme 2018-2022 outlined the areas Te Waka saw  as the big drivers for the region's economic future.


These ranged from Māori economic development, transport, tourism, housing, construction, manufacturing, primary production to aviation.


Te Waka chairman Dallas Fisher.
TOM LEE/STUFF
Te Waka chairman Dallas Fisher.


The launch was attended by 250 of the region's key business, Māori, community and government leaders.


The programme provided a pathway for the region to build on its strengths and address areas that needed help to grow, Fisher said.


"The Waikato region's prime location and diverse economy are at the heart of the region's competitive advantage. We want to help the region grab those advantages and make them even greater. "


It also aimed to assist those communities and parts of the region that had yet to benefit from growth.


"While the region on average is prospering, we know that some communities aren't doing quite so well, and in some places, deprivation levels are above the New Zealand average.


"It's our job to make sure everybody in the mighty Waikato has the same opportunity to grow and succeed."


He said it was a living,   non-linear document that will evolve to meet different projects and priorities as they arose.

"It can't stand still because things change, new projects come along, others fall off, some are stronger and some are weaker, so it  evolves.


"In four years' time we'll have a completely different developed plan."


The plan has built on the work undertaken by groups such as Waikato Means Business and the ideas put forward at the Waikato Economic Summit in late August.


Te Waka chief executive Michael Bassett-Foss said many of the programme's ideas were at different stages of development. Some were still conceptual while others were close to completion.


"It's not like we're starting from scratch here."


The ideas that came out of the summit provided Te Waka with a broad context for their programme, he said.


"We listened carefully to the messages which came out from the summit, and by continuing to engage and work with our key partners, we have identified and refined 53 priority areas and projects which we think will help to lift and accelerate the region's economic performance and prosperity."


The programme will be presented to Economic Minister Shane Jones in Wellington in late November.


"It's a clear signal to people like Jones about what he should feel confident about supporting. There are a whole bunch of ideas bubbling up and some of them will require government support," Fisher said.


He said Waikato was eight to 15   years behind other regions in terms of its economic planning.


"It's taken us six  months to get  to where other people have taken years to do. We are really accelerating to catch up and move forward."


- Stuff

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