Our first major research project is underway and is focused on compiling an array of data entitled the “Balance Sheet of the Waikato”. This is our first project as we understood that the region has decent data but is fragmented. The University of Waikato has dedicated 20% of a senior staff member’s time to assist us with the research. We also have the support of other organisations to share their data to reduce duplication. We foresee the results to be used by all in the Waikato and to identify gaps that require more focus and opportunities. Relevant, accurate and consistent data that is updated on a regular basis will assist with providing evidence for business, investors, residents. The research brief will be publicised on the Agenda Waikato website; if you’d like a look now to have the opportunity to provide input, please get in contact with us.
Election results - what does it mean for the Waikato?
With a change in Government, what does this new coalition mean for our region? NZ First MP Shane Jones has been appointed as Minister of Regional Economic Development. It’s more important than ever to position and prepare ourselves well, ready to attract central government spending. It’s time to pull ourselves together, reduce fragmentation, be organised and be clear where we need funding. It is positive the new Economic Development Agency is underway, however while the EDA is in its establishment phase, Agenda Waikato see it as crucial to prepare ourselves now. A focused section on infrastructure within the research project, “Balance Sheet of the Waikato”, will assist with identifying gaps and opportunities for the annual billion-dollar regional fund. With the sub-region continuing to grow, infrastructure investment is essential now to ensure our businesses are enabled for the future and the region can grow sustainably.
Recap on the election forum
Agenda Waikato, with the support of Waikato Chamber of Commerce and EMA Waikato, organised an Election Forum on 4 September at Mystery Creek. Over 120 business people attended to hear 10 MP candidates from a range of electorates and parties within the Waikato. The main purpose was to hear what they will do for the Waikato.
Now with a new Government, it is even more important to build and maintain a relationship with the MP’s representing the region. And it’s essential the business community is at the forefront of these discussions. MP’s Jamie Strange, David Bennett and Barbara Kuriger attended our Board meeting on 30 October. We are working on a catch-up with Nanaia Mahuta and will continue to build on these relationships for the betterment of the region.
Remaining independent and our purpose
Agenda Waikato supports the need for a Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency. To some, it can be confusing as to where Agenda Waikato sits with all the regional plans and boards. In a nutshell, Agenda Waikato is to remain independent and be the business voice of reason. Agenda Waikato is not “another group”; it is the collaborator that offers business sense, knowledge, experience and helps provide evidence by way of data to help push for action without political influence.
Agenda Waikato has a representative on the Waikato Plan Board and has also been invited to have 1-2 representatives on the new Waikato REDA Board. It is important to have representation to ensure the business community have a voice and influence in these initiatives that are offering the strategic direction for the region. Yet, it is important to remain independent.
It comes down to the fact there is a need for the business leaders to come together with the purpose of being a sound collective voice to assist with the future of the region.
If you would like to be involved, please contact Tracey Plank. Special thanks to those that have contributed financially so far by way of $1K - $5K seed funding. There are other groups and councils that have offered assistance by way of sharing data and information. We need people who are passionate about our region. We understand not all topics will appeal to everyone and that people are time-poor, therefore we welcome any support you can give. The emphasis is on "collective".
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