Local Government Magazine

Waikato Means Business Initiative Highly Commended


MartinJenkins EXCELLENCE Award for Local Economic Contribution.

Highly Commended: Waikato Regional Council – Waikato Means Business

Waikato Regional Council took an innovative approach to creating its economic development strategy with an exceptionally comprehensive approach.

While the council facilitated development of the strategy, it also established an industry-led governance group – including representatives from iwi, other councils, industry and the University of Waikato. The aim was to develop the strategy with a high level of stakeholder involvement.

It was a new approach for a regional council and the strategy was designed to leverage new resources, increase the number of joint projects carried out, and to align activities and resources for economic development.

Waikato Means Business was signed off in February 2015. Its goals include increasing median household incomes for the region to above the New Zealand average, growing value added per capita by 2.8 percent per year and lifting the Waikato region into the upper third of regions for economic performance. The strategy also aims to increase the proportion of working age people with high level qualifications to above the New Zealand average, boost value added in key sectors by 80 percent, grow productivity by one percent per year and lift the value of international exports by 1.5 percent annually.

Major objectives also include establishing the region as New Zealand’s premier engineering and primary processing hub and for it to be known for excellence in food production, agri-research and agri-business. The strategy also aims for the region to provide a high-quality education offering and to leverage value from Waikato’s location and connections as the key servicing hub of the North Island.

Judges praised the scheme for its sound methodology, good regional approach and, in particular, the “huge collaboration and example of working together for good outcomes”.

LGNZ president Lawrence Yule said the innovative approach to developing the strategy is likely to be a key contributor in helping the region to achieve its economic potential.

This article was first published in the August 2015 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.

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