Attracting regional investment

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is to establish a new regional investment attraction programme to encourage more international firms to invest in New Zealand’s regional economies, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says.

NZTE will work in partnership with regions around the country to create comprehensive investment profiles that outline the strengths of the particular regional economy, the opportunities for investment, and what the region can offer to investors.

“We know there are big opportunities for New Zealand from the massive growth in the numbers of consumers across Asia. However, companies these days can invest their money wherever they like around the world. The challenge for each of New Zealand’s regions is to showcase the real opportunities for competitive businesses in their region, and this programme will help them do it in a more systematic way,” Mr Joyce says.

The NZTE regional investment attraction programme is part of the agency’s work to mobilise capital from domestic and international sources to help lift exports and grow New Zealand’s economy. This includes the new “Better by Capital” service which helps companies to understand the capital raising process to fund their international growth.

“The regions that are doing the best are those that have a clear positive approach that welcomes investment and new opportunities,” Mr Joyce says.

“The profiles will allow regions to clearly lay out the advantages they offer investors in terms of natural resources, infrastructure, the availability of skilled workers, and innovation hubs that support investment.

“NZTE will also provide a toolkit, training, and assistance for regional economic development agencies to better support investor engagement, guidance, and due-diligence.”

To help create and further develop these investment profiles, the Government is commissioning a number of Regional Growth Studies to evaluate growth opportunities in particular regions. These detailed in-depth reports will identify areas of existing economic strength and where opportunities for further growth lie, with a particular focus on the primary sector.

“In commissioning the Regional Growth Studies, the Government will work alongside regional stakeholders such as regional councils and economic development agencies. Local input into the reports will be vital to ensure they are evidence-based and comprehensive,” Mr Joyce says.

“The first study, for the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region, arose out of discussions with Regional Councils last year and is nearly complete. A request for proposals for the Northland study was released yesterday by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment alongside the Ministry of Primary Industries, and additional studies will be considered in partnership with other regions.

“The latest data shows that it is the regions that have been clearly leading New Zealand’s recovery out of the GFC. Today’s announcements will further accelerate this progress.”

The left demonise foreign investment, but it brings significant benefits:

A $70 million investment in Hawke’s Bay that future-proofs one of the region’s biggest employers was celebrated yesterday.

Japan-owned Pan Pac in Whirinaki, north of Napier, has upgraded its grade of wood-pulp exports thanks to a new $50 million plant that bleaches the product.

A $20 million investment was also made so that treated waste was “better than it has ever been before”, pulp mill manager Roger Jones told dignitaries touring the plant.

Previously, Pan Pac sold only newsprint pulp to its owner Oji Holdings for the Japanese market but now exports two grades of pulp throughout the world, with the US an increasingly important customer.

Pan Pac has the country’s largest Market Mechanical pulp mill and thanks to a recent third shift of workers, now has the country’s most productive sawmill. . .

This investment safeguards jobs, it’s already brought in foreign money and some of the export earnings will remain here for on-ging maintenance and development.

Investors who come from cities whose population is bigger than that of the whole of New Zealand might not be aware of the potential for investment like this outside our main centres.

But lower costs for property and generally stable workforces could make regions attractive to overseas investors.

These factors ought to be considered by domestic investors too when close proximity to a larger market isn’t a consideration.

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