Driving economic action

CO-ORDINATOR: Jacque White returned to Gisborne recently after five years working overseas, predominantly in banking and software development. Her role is co-ordinating delivery of the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan. Picture by Liam Clayton

In February this year, Government Ministers and the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan Steering Group launched the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan (TEAP) — a multipoint plan focused on transformative economic change.

The plan focuses on those human and natural resources the region is blessed with. It keys in on primary production and tourism, with a focus on forestry, water, apiculture and the infrastructure that underpins delivery of these areas that have been identified as important components of our economic future with strong growth potential.

The goal is to create 1260 new jobs, increase local processing and value-added production, and attract $86.6 million in investment into the region by 2022.

The plan is delivered by a dedicated team of local project managers and stakeholders, co-ordinated by Jacque White from Activate Tairawhiti.

Jacque is an experienced project manager who recently returned to Gisborne after five years working overseas, predominantly in banking and software development. Her experience culminated in working in the Czech Republic with FNZ, a wealth management software company with a start-up mentality.

Ms White says she is pleased to bring this expertise back to the region.

She has a passion for the role of technology in business, and believes projects thrive on collaboration.

“Proactive collaboration will be critical to the success of the action plan. We need to encourage the right conversations at the right level with the right people in the region. We also need to ensure Government is well connected with our region’s leaders and backs delivery.”

Ms White believes the governance provided by a steering group of community leaders is one of the action plan’s greatest strengths.

“What we have is a group of regional leaders together in one room focused on delivering economic change. They all believe in a best-for-region approach and see the action plan as the region’s roadmap for growth.

“My role is to support delivery through robust processes and communications.”

Real progress has been made on many of the actions in the plan, she says.

The Makauri Aquifer recharge year-one pilot has been completed and the economic model developed. The Manuka Honey Collective has made a strong start, exceeding its target of 1700 hives. Ngati Porou Miere has completed its research on apiculture and the factors affecting manuka. Activate Tairawhiti has recruited the tourism manager who will be tasked with driving tourism growth for the region. The horticulture sector has employed a workforce co-ordinator to improve employment outcomes in the sector. The Job Shop and Licence to Work programmes focused on workforce development have also achieved success.

It’s that level of performance that Ms White expects will continue.

“I have been lucky enough to work in some pretty fast-paced environments and am looking forward to bringing classic start-up values to this role – enthusiasm, a solution focus and hard work.

“I look forward to supporting the people tasked with delivery and providing rigour around the management of the various actions within the plan. It’s one way we can ensure accountability and start to measure the plan’s impact,” she says.

The immediate priority is engagement with a new Government — particularly Minister of Regional Development, the Hon Shane Jones.

“Obviously the environment in which we are working has changed with the change of government. So, our early priority has been to engage with Wellington.

“The steering group has been in touch with Minister Jones. Every region is seeking engagement while the new leadership embeds itself, but we are confident that, with all we can offer the Government, we will push our way to the front of the queue.”

In February this year, Government Ministers and the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan Steering Group launched the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan (TEAP) — a multipoint plan focused on transformative economic change.

The plan focuses on those human and natural resources the region is blessed with. It keys in on primary production and tourism, with a focus on forestry, water, apiculture and the infrastructure that underpins delivery of these areas that have been identified as important components of our economic future with strong growth potential.

The goal is to create 1260 new jobs, increase local processing and value-added production, and attract $86.6 million in investment into the region by 2022.

The plan is delivered by a dedicated team of local project managers and stakeholders, co-ordinated by Jacque White from Activate Tairawhiti.

Jacque is an experienced project manager who recently returned to Gisborne after five years working overseas, predominantly in banking and software development. Her experience culminated in working in the Czech Republic with FNZ, a wealth management software company with a start-up mentality.

Ms White says she is pleased to bring this expertise back to the region.

She has a passion for the role of technology in business, and believes projects thrive on collaboration.

“Proactive collaboration will be critical to the success of the action plan. We need to encourage the right conversations at the right level with the right people in the region. We also need to ensure Government is well connected with our region’s leaders and backs delivery.”

Ms White believes the governance provided by a steering group of community leaders is one of the action plan’s greatest strengths.

“What we have is a group of regional leaders together in one room focused on delivering economic change. They all believe in a best-for-region approach and see the action plan as the region’s roadmap for growth.

“My role is to support delivery through robust processes and communications.”

Real progress has been made on many of the actions in the plan, she says.

The Makauri Aquifer recharge year-one pilot has been completed and the economic model developed. The Manuka Honey Collective has made a strong start, exceeding its target of 1700 hives. Ngati Porou Miere has completed its research on apiculture and the factors affecting manuka. Activate Tairawhiti has recruited the tourism manager who will be tasked with driving tourism growth for the region. The horticulture sector has employed a workforce co-ordinator to improve employment outcomes in the sector. The Job Shop and Licence to Work programmes focused on workforce development have also achieved success.

It’s that level of performance that Ms White expects will continue.

“I have been lucky enough to work in some pretty fast-paced environments and am looking forward to bringing classic start-up values to this role – enthusiasm, a solution focus and hard work.

“I look forward to supporting the people tasked with delivery and providing rigour around the management of the various actions within the plan. It’s one way we can ensure accountability and start to measure the plan’s impact,” she says.

The immediate priority is engagement with a new Government — particularly Minister of Regional Development, the Hon Shane Jones.

“Obviously the environment in which we are working has changed with the change of government. So, our early priority has been to engage with Wellington.

“The steering group has been in touch with Minister Jones. Every region is seeking engagement while the new leadership embeds itself, but we are confident that, with all we can offer the Government, we will push our way to the front of the queue.”

The Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan Steering Group is co-chaired by Herewini Te Koha (chief executive of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou) and Nedine Thatcher Swann (chief executive of Gisborne District Council).

The wider group is made up of representatives from the following organisations:

■ Activate Tairawhiti

Leads the region’s economic development and tourism efforts and is proactively seeking opportunities identified in the plan. Activate provides co-ordination of the team’s outputs as well as a range of services that will enable businesses and the workforce to deliver and benefit from the plan.

■ Cedenco and LeaderBrand

Two locally-operated food manufacturing companies representing the needs of the wider horticultural sector.

■ Eastland Community Trust

With its investment in Prime, ECT is responsible for enabling many of the wood processing outcomes in association with the wider industry. The trust may also enable outcomes via its distributions programme.

■ EIT (Eastern Institute of Technology)

Represents the region’s tertiary sector and shares responsibility for delivering an appropriately-skilled local workforce, ensuring local access to the jobs created in this plan.

■ Eastland Group

Specialises in regional infrastructure and is a key enabler of the plan — operating both the port and airport.

■ Gisborne District Council

Is the owner of key regional infrastructure and facilitator of many of the actions within the plan, specifically where they relate to roading, water, digital infrastructure and tourism.

■ Kimihia he Oranga

Ensures alignment with the Maori Economic Development Report.

■ Tamanuhiri Tutu Poroporo Trust, Rongowhakaata Trust, Te Runanga o Turanganui a Kiwa, Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou

Represent the interests of their respective iwi and are key enablers of many facets of the plan, particularly in the tourism, horticulture, apiculture and forestry sectors.

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Winston Moreton - 9 days ago
The Big Question - What About the Elephant?

Who advises Shane Jones, the new Regional Development Minister, about our local economic needs? In this story (TGH 4/12) about the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan (TEAP) we find our community electricity trust is over represented. ECT and Eastland Group control our electricity supply monopoly and invest some of the millions generated outside our district (think big) and with Activate Tairawhiti, which took over local tourism and the bus station. It is ironic that those organisations should be asking government for economic aid when the ECT cluster exports our money on grand schemes like a power generation plant ($125m in Kawerau) and millions in overseas shares, making its investment brokers rich.
Who are the other members of TEAP, I ask, and who appointed them? Several I have never heard of - for instance, Kimihia he Oranga and Tamanuhiri Tutu Poroporo Trust. How are they representing my family's economic interests? The fact is TEAP was set up during the previous government's regime. I do not trust it to do anything about redressing the huge desire of the people in Gisborne to create jobs by repairing the rail link (10,000 signed the petition) and addressing the elephant in the room called Poverty - highest of any region in NZ.

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